NONFICTION

The Spirit of Springer: The Real-Life Rescue of an Orphaned Orca

Little Bigfoot. Mar. 2020. 48p. Tr $18.99. ISBN 9781632172129.
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Gr 2-5–This narrative nonfiction book documents the work of American and Canadian researchers who rescued an orca named Springer and returned her to health, releasing her back into Canadian waters. Orca whales ordinarily swim in pods; parents and children are together all their lives. One day in 2002 a single orca calf emerged from the waves of Puget Sound. A ferry worker who saw the event informed whale experts, who determined from her dialect and markings that this calf was sick, starving, and over 300 miles from home. The book follows Springer as she relearns how to eat, figures out how to heal her own skin, finds her family members, and reestablishes her life in the wild. It also credits the First Nations people who helped to welcome her home. The simple, precise language encourages readers to follow the story’s twists and turns and invest in its happy outcome. The realistic but playful illustrations convey emotion as well as fact. Post-narrative pages provide additional scientific information about Springer, orcas in general, and the environment in which orcas live.
VERDICT This book is a delightful find for STEM enthusiasts and also for kids who just like a good story.

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