CM . . .
. Volume XIV Number 6 . . . .November 9, 2007
The most vibrant and popular star of the Fraser River in BC might be the mighty salmon, but its four-year life span pales in comparison to that of the White Sturgeon, a fish that may live beyond the 177 years detailed in this book. Having existed since before dinosaurs roamed the earth, this species and its story will intrigue young readers who are fans of other prehistoric creatures. The book follows the life cycle of one fish hatched in the spring of 1828 in the upper reaches of the Fraser. The dated entries in the fish's life show major events such as her first return to the spawning ground at age 30, being caught and released for the first time at age 69, escaping the Hells Gate rock slide of 1913, nearly being grounded at age 96 as her lake dries up, and finally being measured and tagged at age 177 in 2005. At the book's end, Fish had not completed her life but would have contributed thousands of offspring to maintain the species. A reader cannot help but admire this heroic lifetime of achievements against such odds as eagles, human fishers, and environmental changes.
Thoroughly researched text and full-page lively watercolour illustrations trace Fish's journey. The straightforward writing style will be accessible to newly independent readers, but it is equally appealing to adults. The larger type is set on plenty of white space while the illustrations occupy full pages and often flow across double-spreads and off the page. To emphasize Fish's enormous size, she is usually only partially pictured.
BC's Gillian Richardson is a freelance writer and former teacher-librarian.
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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.