________________ CM . . . . Volume XIV Number 7 . . . . November 23, 2007


Canada’s Coastal Animals.            

Chelsea Donaldson.
Toronto, ON: Scholastic Canada, 2007.
44 pp., pbk., $6.99.
ISBN 978-0-545-99736-2.

Subject Headings:
Coastal animals-Canada-Juvenile literature.
Marine animals-Canada-Juvenile literature.

Grades 3-6 / Ages 8-11.

Review by John Dryden.

**** /4


[The Atlantic Puffins] have to flap their wings as fast as they can to stay in the air. And when they land they often tumble head over heels, knocking over other puffins in their path.


Canada's Coastal Animals is a good compilation of facts for many of the more popular animals found on our coasts. Readers will be able to find general information about Starfish, Pacific Salmon, Eels, Octopus, Atlantic Puffins, Great Cormorants, Sea Otters, Sea Lions, Dall's Porpoise, and Humpback Whales. Chelsea Donaldson has selected an excellent range of animals for the intended reading audience.

     This book is set out quite well with a clear table of contents that will allow readers to quickly find the animal they wish to read about. The book opens with a map of Canada and delineates the long coast line around our nation. Each chapter is clearly labeled. The author uses language that will keep the reader's interest and includes providing unique facts about the animals in the book. For example, the starfish will push its stomach out of its body and wrap it around its prey (isn't that disgusting?) There are excellent photos of the animals on almost every page. Overall, this book is great. Read on for the minute irritants.

     The description of the animals is general, and the chapters follow no particular format which might be frustrating to a young researcher looking to find characteristics under headings or in a table (diet, habitat, size, reproduction, etc). Next, I think the chapter entitled 'Dall's porpoise' more accurately should have just been called Porpoises because there is only one paragraph dedicated specifically to the Dall's species while the rest of the chapter is generic information about porpoises. It does feel too picky to be pointing that out because the book is excellent. But while I am at it, I will add that I found it odd that the size of the animals was not focused upon, information which tends to be a big deal for the intended audience. Also, I thought it to be slightly disconcerting that the book did not show the area of Canada's coasts in which these animals are most commonly found. Perhaps this could have been done in the form of a highlighted map or description. Without this clarification, one might assume that all these animals could be found on every Canadian coast line. And lastly (please remember I think this book is great - a must have!) in the "Eel" chapter, the author mentions that an "eel in Europe lived to be over 80 years old." I am not sure why this rankles me so, but perhaps it is because the book is entitled Canada's Coastal Animals and I hoped to have learned about the oldest Canadian eel (my query lingers: Will the oldest eel in Canada please identify itself!!??).

     Canada's Coastal Animals is great, and readers will learn a ton of cool information from this concise book.

Highly Recommended.

John Dryden is a grade 6 teacher in Duncan, BC. His students think starfish stomachs are very cool and now try to imitate them at inappropriate times.

To comment on this title or this review, send mail to cm@umanitoba.ca.

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