CM . . . . Volume XXIV Number 5 . . . . October 6, 2017
Walrus, part of the "Animals Illustrated" series, is a factual book covering all aspects of walrus biology and habitat that will most certainly interest young children. The topics covered are the following: range, skeletal configuration, external appearance (including unique features), diet, reproduction, predators, social life, fun facts, and traditional uses. There are typically two short paragraphs per heading, with plenty of detailed diagrams and illustrations peppered throughout. While there is a section specifically for fun facts, the text throughout the entire book contains insightful and entertaining details that will spark young readers' interest.
The text may contain a plethora of information, but it is written in such an enjoyable and accessible style that readers are barely aware that they are learning a large amount of facts. The sentences tend to be on the shorter side, yet they are expressive and descriptive. Where the book especially excels is in the illustrations, which are so colourful, detailed, and alluring that one can truly imagine being on the ice floes with the walruses! The variety of blues alone makes it a joy to view.
The text and the illustrations complement each other magnificently; for instance, when the author writes that the biggest walrus has the most respect, one need not imagine this as he is beautifully illustrated with his elongated tusks and determined, piercing eye, staring aggressively toward the reader! In addition, the pacing will make it possible for even the littlest children to be able to focus enough to find entertainment and value from the book. Walrus would be best served for those in early elementary, however, and would lend itself well to a unit on arctic animals or traditional peoples of the north.
Written by an elder from Igloolik, Nunavut, Walrus is filled with expert insight into walrus living conditions and interactions with humans and northern animals. This title is a must-have for all elementary school and public libraries.
Roxy Garstad is the Collections Librarian at MacEwan University in Edmonton, AB.