________________ CM . . . . Volume XVIII Number 23 . . . . February 17, 2012


Out of Season. (Orca Currents).

Kari Jones.
Victoria, BC: Orca, 2012.
111 pp., pbk. & hc., $9.95 (pbk.), $16.95 (PLB.).
ISBN 978-1-4598-0096-0 (pbk.), ISBN 978-4598-0097-7 (PLB).

Grades 5-8 / Ages 10-14.

Review by Dana L. Coates.

*** /4

Reviewed from Advance Reading Copy.



I could stay here forever watching these guys play, but itís not long before a shot of sunlight sprays over the hills of Riley Bay, and I know I should head home.

But Gertrude is eating another sea urchin. I have to watch her smack open the shell against a rock on her tummy, then scrape out the flesh by holding it to her mouth with her flippers. She uses her teeth as fingers to grab the meat inside. When sheís done, I look up to see the sun is too high in the sky.

If I donít hurry, Iíll be late.

I put my paddle in the water and take a stroke. The otters back away and watch me. I take one last look, then turn the kayak toward home. As the kayak glides forward, I glance up to the hillside, and my stroke falters. Someone is standing at the top of the hill. I canít tell who it is, but theyíre watching me play with the sea otters.

Maya, 14, snuck out every morning on her kayak to check on some sea otters no one else knew about. Then one day she got caught as her mom was awake to find her missing. Her dad and older brother, Saul, who are fishermen, were home, too. She thought her dad would go easy on her since he taught her how to kayak, but she was wrong. He told her there would be consequences if she went out adventuring again. However, this warning would not stop Maya from checking on the otters the next day.

     Maya ventured out again to the bay where the otters were. When she saw her father and brother approaching in their boat, she made for the shore and hid. Right away, another boat pulled up next to her dadís with men in it she did not know. To Mayaís surprise, one of those men jumped into her dadís boat to hit him and to steal his boat. After Maya rescued her dad from the cold water, she quickly learned that those strange guys were poachers taking sea urchin out of season. The coast guard agreed to help out with Mayaís plan to catch the poachers, and, as it turned out, the poachers were no strangers at all.

     Out of Season apparently was well planned because of the twists and turns in the plot. As Maya played with the sea otters, someone was on top of a hill watching her. Then her dad was attacked by a poacher leading to the poachers being caught in the act. The story was also very descriptive to read. The author did a splendid job describing the scenery. The characters and dialogue are also realistic.

     Out of Season, an interesting, nail-biting book filled with suspense, is an easy, quick read with no difficult words. Yet this book is cute with its playful sea otters, and readers can learn a bit about sea otters, such as what and how they eat and that they are, indeed, wild and capable of harming humans who got too close. Out of Season is worth reading for entertainment and educational reasons.


Dana L. Coates is a grade 6 teacher in Norway House, MB.

To comment on this title or this review, send mail to cm@umanitoba.ca.

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