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

cover

Schniderís World: A Harp Seal Story.

Don Downer. Illustrated by Gisele LeBlanc-Turner. Sydney, NS: Cape Breton University Press, 2011.
38 pp., pbk., $14.95.
ISBN 978-1-897009-59-8.

Subject Headings:
Harp seal-Juvenile fiction.
Harp seal-Life cycles-Juvenile fiction.
Seals (Animals)-Juvenile fiction.

Grades 4-6 / Ages 9-11.

Review by Shelbey Krahn.

*** /4

   

excerpt:

A harp seal mother and her newly whelped seal pup lay close together on the ice. The new pup nursed hungrily. An hour before, Schnider had opened his eyes for the first time and saw the great white world of ice around him. The pupís black eyes darted excitedly here and there.

The preface of Schniderís World begins a narrative about a baby seal, a sweet and cuddly start suitable for primary readers. Next, the introduction does not mention him, but it has maps and descriptions about where harp seals live and migrate, quite heavy going even for junior readers.

internal art

     If junior readers persevere through to Chapter One, they will be rewarded with an interesting and richly informative narrative. Schniderís adventures are suspenseful, but free of gore. The author thoughtfully bolds words and phrases that are included in the glossary. The book is an excellent school resource for units on habitat or the Arctic.

     The illustrations by Gisele Leblanc-Turner appear to be primarily of pencil crayon, with some marker and acrylic paint added for punches of white and colour. These illustrations are warm and fairly realistic. It is unfortunate that the main illustration for Chapter Ten is exactly the same as for Chapter Four, a picture of baby Schnider beside his mother, because Schnider is a young male on his own in Chapter Ten, not a tiny whitecoat.

     The depth of detail in the words would have been better matched by photographic illustrations to show the changes in Schniderís coat, size and habitat. If that was too difficult to achieve, an extra page of photographs detailing the life cycle of a harp seal would have been very helpful in satisfying the readerís curiosity.

Recommended.

Shelbey Krahn is a librarian in Sudbury, ON.

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

Copyright © the Manitoba Library Association. Reproduction for personal use is permitted only if this copyright notice is maintained. Any other reproduction is prohibited without permission.
Published by
The Manitoba Library Association
ISSN 1201-9364
Hosted by the University of Manitoba.
 

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