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Produced by Douglas J.M. Giasson; directed by Shaytan Fox

LCA Productions, 1990. VHS cassette, 26:00 min., $239.00. (The Nature of Canada series).
Distributed by Interna­tional Tele-Film, 47 Densley Ave., Toronto, Ont,, M6M 5A8

Grades 4 to 9/Ages 9 to 14
Reviewed by Carol Carver.

Volume 19 Number 6
1991 November

Pulsating music pulls the viewer into the quest for knowledge about the seals that gather each year off the shores of the Magdalene Islands in the Gulf of St. Lawrence to give birth during the spring ice break-up. The video follows scien­tists studying the 3,000 harp seals that have travelled from Greenland, docu­ments how seals have adapted to live both on land and under water, and discusses (but does not show) birthing and mating habits. The wilder, mysteri­ous hooded seal is investigated next: the protective mother, the quickly weaned pup, and the aggressive male with its unusual balloon-like nasal displays.

A plethora of information is given — from mythological and evolutionary background to under-water survival skills. Scenes contrast the seals' grace under water with its clumsiness on land and are interspersed with drama, majesty and humour.

The presentation is well organized, flows smoothly, and keeps the viewer's interest. Appropriate music and high technical quality add to the enjoyment. The occasional exaggerated narration (for example, the placenta is "the spaceship in which this little astronaut of inner space arrives on planet Earth") is a minor flaw; however, a more serious oversight is the use of imperial meas­ures, rather than metric, for distance and weight.

Despite these reservations, the video is recommended for Intermediate and junior high grades and is suitable up to an adult level.

Carol Carver, Dieppe School, Winnipeg, Man.
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