CM . . .
. Volume XXI Number 5. . . .October 3, 2014 |
Dolphin SOS is a beautiful narrative which is based on a true event. The book highlights the struggles of white-beaked dolphins in Newfoundland during winter. The story follows Nicole and her family as they try to save a pod of dolphins from constricting ice that threatens the dolphins’ lives.
Picture books are read to children for two reasons, entertainment or understanding. Often children do not understand the world around them, especially serious events. A story or fairy tale is a timeless medium used to help children understand what cannot be explained such as, feelings or powerful emotions. Dolphin SOS helps children in Newfoundland understand the tragedies that can befall dolphins trapped in ice flows.
The story begins with Nicole being awakened from a deep sleep by the sound of crying dolphins. Nicole and her family quickly react and work together to help reunite these dolphins with the river. Although the story has a happy ending and Nicole, in her own right, is a superhero, the situation could have easily become grave. The story is based on a true event that happened in February 2009 as described by the author in the afterword. Roy and Slavia Miki tell how the cries and shrieks of the struggling dolphins haunt local residents, especially the children. Therefore, a picture book like Dolphin SOS would help these children to understand what is happening and give them a story to explain their emotions.
Dolphin SOS has merit in communities affected by such situations and can be a valuable learning tool. But what of children living in areas without trapped dolphins? Julie Flett is the illustrator who accompanies the narrative. Her soft and simple images provide a wonderful portrayal of the events. The pictures are calming and invite the reader to relax despite the urgency of the situation provided by the text. The imagery also true reflects the cold northern Canadian landscape.
The synchronicity of these two mediums creates a charming story of dolphin rescue and introduces children to modern superheroes. Nicole is a character to whom young children can relate and perhaps imagine when they encounter an animal in need of assistance. The story does not need to apply only to dolphins for the lesson to become clear. Roy and Slavia Miki, along with Julie Flett, have created an endearing children’s picture book about stepping up and providing aid to nature when called upon. I was drawn to this book at first by the illustrations and grew to appreciate it through the text.
Nicole Czirjak is a student of English at the University of the Fraser Valley in Langley, BC.
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Copyright © the Manitoba Library Association. Reproduction for personal use is permitted only if this copyright notice is maintained. Any other reproduction is prohibited without permission.