Rescuing Rialto: A Baby Sea Otter's Story

photos by Alan Berner. 40p. bibliog. maps. photos. Roaring Brook. Apr. 2019. Tr $18.99. ISBN 9781250147646.
Gr 3–6—It is hard to find a wild animal that is cuter or more playful than a baby sea otter. When one is stranded and fighting for survival, however, that behavior is nearly impossible to notice. Meet Rialto, a baby sea otter who was separated from his mother and found washed ashore on the coast of Washington state. By a stroke of fate, humans spotted him, and a team of specialists were able to nurse him back to health. In the wild, sea otters have had a difficult existence as hunters have sought them out for their beautiful fur. Where their populations once spread around the Pacific Ocean, they began disappearing at an alarming rate. Now, happily, the number of wild sea otters is beginning to increase thanks to the diligent work of environmentalists and politicians. This book tells the story of Rialto's rescue and recovery through the voice of a journalist who covered the events firsthand. The thorough text is peppered with challenging vocabulary and punctuated by full-color photographs of Rialto. Readers who are interested in sea otters will enjoy the multifaceted storytelling in this book.
VERDICT A good upper level nonfiction text to round out the animal rescue section of elementary school libraries.

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