Orcas of the Salish Sea

Orca. Apr. 2020. 32p. Tr $19.95. ISBN 9781459825055.
Gr 1-3–The closely studied orca pods of the Salish Sea star in this nonfiction book for younger readers. Interesting facts about individual animals that scientists have studied provide an engaging angle. General information about orca traits and behaviors rounds out the text and includes details about groups from around the world. Vivid photographs of whales in action provide strong visual support; most are full-page or larger. Some depict individually identified orcas, such as Onyx, Scarlet, and Moby Doll. Others show actions described in the text, such as breaching or hunting. When the human threat to orcas is introduced, the accompanying two-page photo of a lone whale swimming against a blazing orange sea and sky is particularly effective. The lively and sometimes conversational tone of the writing works well, although the shifts from stories about individual whales to broader data and back again slightly disrupt the narrative flow. The range of the Salish Sea orcas is noted in the text, but no map is included. An author’s note at the end emphasizes the threats to orca survival and suggests some ways readers can help.
VERDICT A generally engaging and informative work of narrative nonfiction on a popular topic.

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