Honey Girl is well-known in her habitat of the waters off northern Oahu.
Called monk seals because their loose neck skin resembles a monk’s cowl, most of these animals live near the uninhabited Northwestern Hawaiian Islands, but some regularly live near the main Hawaiian Islands and they are designated the state mammal. Although her species is endangered (for many reasons listed in the fact-filled backmatter), Honey Girl has managed to live and bear many pups, so many that she is locally known as “Super Mom.” This book examines one period in her life when veterinarians operate on her after she is injured by a large fishhook that’s punctured her cheek and fishing line that’s been wrapped around her tongue. When she is finally released, scientists track her whereabouts, and a fascinating map is created and shown in the book. She continues to thrive and have other pups, even becoming a grandmother several years after the miracle operation that saves half her tongue. The text is sometimes awkward, concentrating on getting the story down more than on craft. The natural backgrounds, especially the intense blue waters, in the bright illustrations are striking, but the animals and people are not as accomplished.
Though a bit rough around the edges, this very personal story should engage animal-loving readers. (additional information, activities) (Informational picture book. 5-9)