The true protagonist here is not 14-year-old Tomas--a Mexican boy who must decide whether to follow the family trade of fisherman or to stay in school, perhaps becoming a marine biologist--but his Baja California home, to which George brings her contagious enthusiasm as a naturalist. Like George, Tomas is a curious, gifted observer, constantly applying his intelligence to new data he acquires as he goes about his tasks. Though the story is told from Tomas' point of view, the third-person narrative allows George to depict him as a part of his environment. Scores make the attempt, but only such rare authors as Wilder, White, and George successfully incorporate such a quantity of "educational" detail, making it truly intrinsic to their stories; here, George appeals to all the senses in her fascinating portrayal of a region undergoing social and environmental changes that challenge humans as well as other living things alike. About Tomas: tension is maintained not only by his impending decision but by the shark he hopes to capture, not--as he supposes--the placid whale shark, but--as the reader knows from the beginning--a deadly hammerhead. In an exciting finale, the shark is caught, and Tomas--coping with a neat twist of logic that engages both his intelligence and his reverence for the old ways--comes to the right decision. Excellent writing; a fine portrait of a unique region; an involving, well-crafted story.