Saturday, November 2, 2013

Eight Dolphins of Katrina: A True Tale of Survival

I really liked this story.  A lot.  When Jackie surfaced and Tim jumped in the water (not to give too much away there…) I cried.  Literally.  I may also be overly emotional.  But I did.  I cried.  This book is really well written by Janet Wyman Coleman.  Really.  And the illustrations are really interesting.  A public librarian friend helped to give voice to my concern over the visual piece.  When you look at the cover art, a photograph of two dolphins (presumably two of the eight), you form an expectation to see more photographs of the dolphins.  You won’t see that in this book.  No, that’s not true.  There is “An Eight Dolphins Scrapbook” that documents the dolphins and the destruction that occurred at their habitat, “The Marine Life Oceanarium”.  But the book’s text itself is not complemented by photographs.  How could it be, really?  During the onset of Hurricane Katrina, no one was stopping to take pictures of the storm brewing, of the dolphins being transported to hotel pools, etc.

And, let me be clear, the illustrations by Yan Nascimbene, are spectacular, but going from a photo cover to illustrated content is a bit jarring.  My public librarian friend stated, “I question the publisher’s decision to put a photograph on the cover.”  I agree and I’m glad she was able to put it in words.  I couldn’t quite explain it myself at the time, but consistency would definitely have helped me as a reader.  I think that kids will be more likely to pick this book up with two dolphins on the cover.  Plain and simple.  But I don’t know that the same kids will stay for the story.  I hope they do.  Because it’s awesome.

Eight Dolphins of Katrina
ISBN: 978-0-547-71923-8
Published 2013 by Houghton Mifflin Books for Children
I borrowed this copy from my public library to read and review.

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