Thursday, November 20, 2014

Eight Dolphins of Katrina: A True Tale of Survival

Eight Dolphins of Katrina:  A True Tale of Survival 
By Janet Wyman Coleman, illustrated by Yan Nascimbene
Boston: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 2013, Ages 11-15

This story is about eight dolphins who survived the disasters of Hurricane Katrina. These eight dolphins lived and were raised at the Marine Life Oceanarium in Mississippi. Before the storm hit the trainers moved some of the dolphins to safer locations but the last eight dolphins had no other place to go and had to be left. When Katrina hit it destroyed the Oceanarium and those eight dolphins were washed back into the Gulf. The trainers were worried they would not be able to survive on their own but insisted on searching the Gulf for them. Miraculously, all eight of them turned up and were healthy and unharmed because they stayed together.

This is a nonfiction book and written as an expository. This means that the book was written to share an event that happened and it was not written in first person but has a lot of details. Coleman did not experience this situation first-hand but she interviewed the doctor and trainers and got the information first-hand. Along with gathering a lot of first-hand information, the author does a great job at capturing emotion and keeping the readers interest. It is an easy read but because of the knowledge the reader must have about what Hurricane Katrina was, I think it was meant for a 4th or 5th grade student. 

While the book had a great story line, I think what I liked best was the pictures. The book's cover shows a real picture of two dolphins in the water smiling up at you. This picture is what pulled my attention to the book in the first place before I even read the title. The book starts off as illustrated drawings and they are perfectly portraying what is happening in the story. They are vibrant, detailed, and really grab the reader’s attention. The pictures even do a good job at capturing the emotion that the trainers and readers must be feeling about these missing dolphins. At the end it also includes real pictures of the dolphins, trainers, rescue helicopter and the Oceanarium to give the readers an exact picture.

In my opinion, this book deserves 5 stars. I think that it shares a lot of content about what really did happen during Hurricane Katrina, gives a good story line and provides a lot of detailed pictures. The book for me was easy to read and kept my interest the entire time, which is why I think it would appeal to lower middle level students. The only reason that the book may not appeal to some readers is if they did not know what Hurricane Katrina was, how big of an impact it had, and how incredible it was that the dolphins were actually rescued.

Reviewed by Amanda Monschein

No comments: