Friday, January 11, 2019

Fact Friday: The Orca Scientists by Kim Perez Valice

The Orca Scientists by Kim Perez Valice. With photographs by Andy Comins and the Center for Whale Research. Scientist in the Field series. 80 p. Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, July, 2018. 9780544898264. (Review of purchased finished copy.)

Orcas, like hyenas, (see last Friday's Fact Friday) suffer from a bit of a bum rap. Viewed as "killers," these whales, actually, the largest porpoises, are not a menace to humans but devoted pod members who care for each other, teach the young and hunt together. Scientists are studying two pod groups in the Pacific Northwest and their numbers are dangerously declining due to overfishing and water pollution.

The photos are the stars in this entry. Crisp, clear, full-color photos show just how impressive these creatures are! The prose is not as fluid as other books in the series. There were a few occasions where the narrative was difficult to follow, requiring backtracking to reread, and the jargon was not explained. Still, The Orca Scientists is a wonderful resource to get young ecologists excited about saving this magnificent species. I just read in the Times the other day that the pod of orcas featured prominently in this book continues to decline. I still read actual papers; here's a link to the article online

Backmatter includes how one can get involved in conservation efforts, glossary, suggestions for further reading, source notes and an index. Definitely a title to add to any collection.

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