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Whale Watching

Whale Watching

by Diane Bair, Pamela Wright

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Editorial Reviews

In these two titles from the Wildlife Watching series, the factual content is not reliable. The books are written in an easy-to-read format that may frustrate those students in upper elementary school who are reading beyond their grade level. Certainly, though, a natural history series offering information on "how to" watch such captivating animals as sea turtles and whales will attract young readers. (Whether the majority will ever actually get to see any of these animals in the wild is another matter.) Each book introduces its respective animal, emphasizes doing background research before undertaking a field trip (additional reading and lists of Internet sites are provided, as are addresses of research and conservation organizations), discusses what to look for on the trip, and tells how to record observations. Sea Turtle Watching contains a colorful and informative "North American Field Guide" for five species of marine turtles (loggerhead, leatherback, green, hawksbill, and Kemp's ridley) appearing on U.S. beaches. Whale Watching presents a similar field guide for six species of whales (beluga, blue, gray, humpback, minke, and orca) swimming in waters off North America. The whale guide contains a major error under the heading "Minke Whale." The text says, "Minke whales do not have dorsal fins." (p.40) In fact, they do, as the photo in the guide clearly shows. The presence or absence of a dorsal fin is important in the field identification of whales. This error and a number of inaccuracies in Sea Turtle Watching (e.g., "[Leatherbacks] are the heaviest reptiles in the world" [p. 6]; "Some sea turtles can swim as fast as 35 miles (56 kilometers) per hour" [p. 7]; and "Most female seaturtles are at least 20 years old before they lay eggs" [p.10]) indicate that the authors did not cross-check and verify information before it was published. Particularly in Whale Watching , many readers will be unable to identify with the persons portrayed in the field activities. (from the Wildlife Watching Series.) Questionable, Grades 3-6. REVIEWER: Dr. Frank M. Truesdale (Emeritus, Louisiana State University)

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Scholastic Library Publishing
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