CM . . . .
Volume VI Number 19 . . . . May 26, 2000
Whales, seals and dolphins are a lot more like you than they are like the fish and the other creatures of the ocean. Like humans, marine mammals breathe air, are warm blooded and give birth to live young. But marine mammals live in an environment that is foreign to people. Just think of all the special gear that you would have to wear to explore the ocean.... (p. 1).The World of Marine Mammals, written by marine biologist, Adrienne Mason, examines mammals, such as whales, dolphins, manatees, dugongs, seals, sea lions, sea otters, and walruses that live in the sea. The overall characteristics that these creatures share in common, such as swimming, breathing, diving, keeping warm, finding food, sensing, socializing and coping with pollution problems, are analyzed as are the peculiarities of individual species. Mason also introduces many Canadian marine biologists and their special interests, including particular species, saving whales caught in the fish nets, and photography. After a discussion of a topic such as hard rock whales, swimming techniques or echolocation, readers are invited to experiment to further their knowledge of the concept. Mason's writing style is conversational, and the information is presented in short paragraphs, clearly marked with headings.
The detailed illustrations in pencil of animals complement the text, and black and white photographs portray the marine biologists. The information is readily accessible via a glossary, table of contents or an index. This very informative book, which will appeal to budding scientists, is recommended for school and public libraries serving children aged 8 to 12. Children accustomed to glossy coloured pictures may find this format less appealing, but once they are introduced to the contents, many will want to study marine mammals. Both the illustrations and the format are very attractive and will stimulate sophisticated readers.
Meredith MacKeen is the teacher-librarian at Glen Stewart School in Stratford, PEI.
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