Leopard & Silkie: One Boy's Quest to Save the Seal Pups

April 2012. 32p. 978-0-80509-916-0. 16.99.
K-Gr 3–Leopard, a golden, spotted seal pup, was born in the Salish Sea in the Pacific Northwest. Here trained volunteers, including young Miles, a volunteer for Seal Sitters, patrol the area and educate beachcombers about how to enjoy their outing without endangering the wildlife. With sharp, clear full-color photos on every page and a simple text, Lindsey and Peterson explain the dangers to the seal pup that people and their dogs present, the most serious of which is the likelihood that a mother will not attempt to return to her baby if people linger close by, thus dooming her young. They also show the effect baby seals have on one another. Silkie, an older pup, comes on the scene when Leopard is being weaned. An author’s note offers more information about the reasons for supporting Seal Sitting and a bibliography of a few titles of interest to slightly older children. Use this book to show a program in which children are actively involved and to encourage volunteerism.–Nancy Call, Santa Cruz Public Libraries, Aptos, CA
Harbor seals in the Pacific Northwest come ashore in late summer to give birth to and care for their young. The beaches they choose are also frequented by curious humans, whose good but misguided intentions could threaten the vulnerable seal pups. Luckily for the seals, concerned children and adults have formed the Seal Sitters, a watch group that protects the growing seals and educates human beachgoers. Leopard, a newborn seal, is fortunate to have "kid volunteer" Miles on the case. Miles is a wonderful representative for community-based science activism: he and his friends take turns after school keeping an eye on Leopard. They also build Leopard and his mother an anchored raft for better protection against unwanted attention and noise from humans. Lindsey's excellent photographs show why humans can't stay away: Leopard's large, dark eyes and expressive mug seem to be smiling right at the viewer, and his furry, floppy body just calls out for a hug. Photos from a seal's perspective, though, tell a different story, ominously showing even the littlest humans looming overhead. An endnote provides further information about the Seal Sitters and their mission. danielle j. ford

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