ORCA RESCUE!

THE TRUE STORY OF AN ORPHANED ORCA NAMED SPRINGER

Orca activist Sandstrom details the 2002 rescue of an orphaned juvenile separated from her northern resident pod in British Columbia.

After she’s sighted in Washington’s Puget Sound, regional experts work at identification. Orcas live in tightly bonded pods; individuals’ unique dorsal fin shapes, saddle patches, and calls are well documented by researchers. A hydrophone records this orca’s call, keying it to the A4 pod. Photos corroborate her identity as Springer, born in 2000. She and her mother had failed to return to Johnstone Strait with their pod in 2001. Springer’s reappearance sets off an extraordinary rescue and pod reunion involving citizen and professional scientists, nonprofits, U.S. and Canadian governmental agencies, and First Nations and Native American tribal members. Sandstrom is key in organizing financial and in-kind support for the complex rescue, helping to build the Orphan Orca Fund, a coalition of seven nonprofits. Combining eyewitness experiences with solid research, her narrative delivers a clear, month-by-month account of Springer’s rescue, imparting an exciting immediacy. Burwash’s appealing illustrations provide valuable detail. Between first sighting and ultimate reunion, Springer is assessed, monitored, weighed, dewormed, and twice transported to holding net pens. Fascinatingly quickly, experts detect A4 pod’s calls—and Springer’s response. Within 24 hours of Springer’s Canadian homecoming, A4 pod arrives, and Springer is released. Sandstrom recounts subsequent reunions—human and cetacean—and the marvelous news of Springer’s two calves. Cogent topical interludes provide historical and scientific background.

Impressive. (maps, matriline, human-made threats, photos, how to help, glossary, bibliography, websites, team participants, author’s note) (Nonfiction. 6-12)

Pub Date: Oct. 5, 2021

ISBN: 978-1-5253-0117-9

Page Count: 144

Publisher: Kids Can

Review Posted Online: Sept. 24, 2021

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 15, 2021

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Friends of these pollinators will be best served elsewhere.

1001 BEES

This book is buzzing with trivia.

Follow a swarm of bees as they leave a beekeeper’s apiary in search of a new home. As the scout bees traverse the fields, readers are provided with a potpourri of facts and statements about bees. The information is scattered—much like the scout bees—and as a result, both the nominal plot and informational content are tissue-thin. There are some interesting facts throughout the book, but many pieces of trivia are too, well trivial, to prove useful. For example, as the bees travel, readers learn that “onion flowers are round and fluffy” and “fennel is a plant that is used in cooking.” Other facts are oversimplified and as a result are not accurate. For example, monofloral honey is defined as “made by bees who visit just one kind of flower” with no acknowledgment of the fact that bees may range widely, and swarm activity is described as a springtime event, when it can also occur in summer and early fall. The information in the book, such as species identification and measurement units, is directed toward British readers. The flat, thin-lined artwork does little to enhance the story, but an “I spy” game challenging readers to find a specific bee throughout is amusing.

Friends of these pollinators will be best served elsewhere. (Informational picture book. 8-10)

Pub Date: May 18, 2021

ISBN: 978-0-500-65265-7

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Thames & Hudson

Review Posted Online: April 14, 2021

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 1, 2021

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Contentwise, an arbitrary assortment…but sure to draw fans of comics, of science, or of both.

FLASH FACTS

Flash, Batman, and other characters from the DC Comics universe tackle supervillains and STEM-related topics and sometimes, both.

Credited to 20 writers and illustrators in various combinations, the 10 episodes invite readers to tag along as Mera and Aquaman visit oceanic zones from epipelagic to hadalpelagic; Supergirl helps a young scholar pick a science-project topic by taking her on a tour of the solar system; and Swamp Thing lends Poison Ivy a hand to describe how DNA works (later joining Swamp Kid to scuttle a climate-altering scheme by Arcane). In other episodes, various costumed creations explain the ins and outs of diverse large- and small-scale phenomena, including electricity, atomic structure, forensic techniques, 3-D printing, and the lactate threshold. Presumably on the supposition that the characters will be more familiar to readers than the science, the minilectures tend to start from simple basics, but the figures are mostly both redrawn to look more childlike than in the comics and identified only in passing. Drawing styles and page designs differ from chapter to chapter but not enough to interrupt overall visual unity and flow—and the cast is sufficiently diverse to include roles for superheroes (and villains) of color like Cyborg, Kid Flash, and the Latina Green Lantern, Jessica Cruz. Appended lists of websites and science-based YouTube channels, plus instructions for homespun activities related to each episode, point inspired STEM-winders toward further discoveries.

Contentwise, an arbitrary assortment…but sure to draw fans of comics, of science, or of both. (Graphic nonfiction. 9-12)

Pub Date: Feb. 2, 2021

ISBN: 978-1-77950-382-4

Page Count: 160

Publisher: DC

Review Posted Online: Jan. 13, 2021

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 1, 2021

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