A young girl named Mia is the main character of this story about orcas living in the San Juan Islands of Washington state.
Mia’s father is a scientist who studies the whales, and she has grown up learning about orcas from him. She explains in an engaging way how the whales live in pods and how they communicate with their own distinct sounds. Much of the factual information focuses on Granny, a senior leader of three whale pods, who lived to be over 100 years old. Evocative watercolor illustrations show the appealing whales swimming and communicating, with the text integrating the whales’ signature sounds into the story. Dangers to the whales are briefly discussed, with a hopeful conclusion showing all three whale pods swimming playfully together. One arresting spread requires turning the book from landscape to portrait orientation so that Granny’s huge size can be spotlighted as she seems ready to leap out from the page. Mia and her mother have golden-tan skin and straight, black hair; her father has light skin. Background characters—people who’ve come to the island to await the whales and sing for them—have a variety of skin tones. An author’s note offers more information about orcas, and the endpapers provide an arresting map showing the Pacific Northwest superimposed over a huge orca.
An informative and entertaining introduction to this intriguing endangered species. (Informational picture book. 5-9)