DOLPHIN TALK by Wendy Pfeffer


Whistles, Clicks, and Clapping Jaws
by & illustrated by
Age Range: 5 - 9
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A Stage 2 entry in the Let’s-Read-and-Find-Out series seeks to explain the mysteries of dolphin communication. Drawing parallels between human and dolphin interactions, Pfeffer describes dolphin vocabulary and the circumstances under which particular noises and gestures are made. Clear watercolors picture dolphins in diagram and in their natural environment; the varying angles and perspectives keep the blue-green sameness of palette from becoming boring. The text sticks narrowly to its topic, shining in its description of echolocation and its observations about dolphin behavior. It falls down, however, in its explanation of the “hows” of dolphin communication. Although it carefully discusses the role of cranial air sacs in the creation of dolphin vocalization, it’s largely mute on the function of the “melon” (carefully labeled in more than one diagram) in the production or reception of sound, leaving a big question mark for curious readers. That there is very little else that goes into such detail on the subject for the age group makes this lack of explanation particularly frustrating; it also makes this, despite its flaws, a reasonable purchase. (Picture book/nonfiction. 5-9)

Pub Date: Sept. 1st, 2003
ISBN: 0-06-028801-9
Page count: 40pp
Publisher: HarperCollins
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 1st, 2003


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