A spark of hope in the wake of a devastating natural disaster.
In August 2005, Hurricane Katrina sent a 40-foot tidal wave crashing over the Marine Life Oceanarium in Gulfport, Miss. Most of the animals were relocated before the storm, but eight dolphins were left in a large pool believed to be safe. Unfortunately, when the trainers returned, they found the pool destroyed and the dolphins gone. The waves had pulled the creatures out into the nearby Gulf of Mexico. The dolphins were not used to caring for themselves after living in captivity, so a search party was arranged. Miraculously, all eight dolphins were found—waiting together for their trainers. This survival tale is heartwarming but brief. Halfway through, under the heading “More About Man’s Best Friend,” the tone switches to discuss other astonishing dolphin feats throughout history. Nascimbene’s full-page watercolors—of equally watery images—accompany both sections. The illustrations lack the realistic immediacy and emotional wallop of photographs but are age-appropriate for the text, which focuses solely on the dolphins. The surrounding human suffering from the storm is hinted at but never described. A scrapbook of photos and facts about the Oceanarium tale is appended.
During a time of so much destruction, these eight dolphins became a symbol—they banded together and found their way home, just like the human residents of the Gulf Coast. (sources) (Informational picture book. 6-9)