The journey of Chia, a silver chinook salmon, and the adventure of a fish-loving boy converge one afternoon, teaching readers about the salmon life cycle.
Accompanied by highly textured, earth-toned illustrations, Peelen’s story follows Chia from the shores of the Pacific to her spawning ground 1,000 miles up Fourth of July Creek. She swims past a predatory harbor seal, eagle, and grizzly bear, through roots, up a fish ladder, around a dam, into the confluence of two rivers, and into a pool, where the hook of a young fly fisherman, Jon, nearly ends her epic journey. Having anticipated this fishing trip with his family for weeks, Jon wants to be family champion, as his two siblings have been on previous outings. But when Jon’s eyes meet Chia’s, he suddenly has a change of heart. Although damaged from her encounter with Jon’s hook and the grizzly bear’s claws, Chia reaches her destination and continues the life cycle. Jon and his family are depicted as black. Informative backmatter explains how intimately connected salmon are to more than “137 different species of animals, birds, and insects,” making their protection of utmost importance. Unfortunately, this section also includes a quote erroneously attributed to Chief Seattle. Despite this, useful scientific, environmental, and cultural facts about salmon raise unanswered questions to emphasize how little scientists truly know about their behavior.
An interesting story of a boy’s adventure and a scientific tale all rolled into one. (Picture book. 4-8)