Review: The Dolphins of Shark Bay

I thought this would be a super easy quick review to do.  Take pictures, read a bit of the text from The Dolphins of Shark Bay, and say whether or not it would be worth getting or reading.  I didn't anticipate that I would find myself so fascinated that I would simply put down my camera and read.  I didn't anticipate that I would talk with my lad about what I was learning as I read.  I didn't anticipate him coming over and looking over my shoulder as I read.   "What's that dolphin doing mom?" and then marvelling at how unique these dolphins seemed to us.   I love it when books surprise me, don't you?

What do you get?
Pictures OH MY this book is loaded with pictures, and they draw you in.  Pictures of baby dolphins with their moms, pictures of dolphins swimming in groups, pictures of researchers watching the dolphins, dolphins that are hunting, sponging, and/or swimming.

Chapters are as follows, 76 pages broken down into 8 chapters.
1. Mystery Dolphin
2. Monkey Mia
3. Mothers of invention
4. Young and restless
5. Dating Games
6. Advanced Dolphinomics
7. Sticky Questions

I found the images inspired me to read more, and then to beyond the reading to videos. :)
I never knew that dolphins hunted differently around the world. Yeah, I knew about the dolphins that swam in circles stirring up the water dirt so the fish rose to the surface, making it easier to catch them. But I didn't know a dolphin would drive a big fish toward the shore for the same reason, or that they would carry a sponge to protect their rostrum as they hunted for food on the ocean floor. 

 Reading about this inspired me to look it up on youtube. Skimming the water, the speed at which they can turn, it surprised me.

What else can I tell you?
The author brings you right into the life of the scientists, sharing their joys and sorrows.  Their sense of wonder and confusion.  Why do some offspring (usually just the girls) pick up their mothers hunting methods (like sponging) and others don't?   The text is quite readable.
 I love how the book leaves you with the questions that the researchers ask themselves 
1. How do the males choose their herd mates
2. Is it okay for dolphins to be used as swimming buddies or kept in aquariums where they are safe from attack?
3. What causes some dolphins to pick up sponging?
4. Why do some dolphins from the bay stick with their own families, and why do others mingle with the visiting dolphins?

My thoughts:
I am so glad I got this book as a review.  It was so fun learning about the Dolphins of Shark Bay.  Seeing the tools the dolphins use, learning some of their unique struggles, and oh.. the images bringing it all to life.  This is an excellent book to learn about dolphins, not just the dolphins of shark bay, though these dolphins have some unique skills.  Well written, good material, with no prejudices to say what is right or wrong.

The Dolphins of Shark Bay
Author: Pamela S. Turner
Photographer: Scott Tuason
Ages: 10-12 years (or older)
Approximately 11 by 8 inches
Publisher: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt
Series: Scientists in the Field Reviewed for: Raincoast Books
Where can you find it? The Dolphins of Shark Bay  The Dolphins of Shark Bay (Scientists in the Field Series)

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  1. What an informative book. I have a girl who would enjoy that this - dolphins are a favorite.


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