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Did you know a killer whale isn't actually a whale?
on 22 July 2010
This is a short illustrated book about cetaceans, that group of creatures encompassing whales, dolphins and porpoises. It only takes an hour or so to read, and although the facts and figures are probably a little light on detail it is nevertheless full of fascinating information that will be of value to children between the ages of 5 and 15 - although there's plenty for an adult to learn and enjoy too. I didn't know, for example, that a killer whale - the orca - is actually the largest of the dolphin family. I was surprised to learn that the heart of a blue whale is as big as a car. I was intrigued to discover that the skeletal structure of a dolphin's flipper is quite similar to that of a human hand. And of course whales are awesome creatures and there is never too much to read about them. For the record, I am an avid protester against whaling and find absolutely no justification for it at all.
Anyway this is a simple book that in addition to a lot of useful information contains projects for children to participate in, a quiz to check if your children have taken any notice of what they have heard or read, and a glossary to summarise some key phrases. There is also an index to help find the right page. There will be bigger books on the same subject with far more comprehensive information, but the appeal of this book is that a child's attention should be maintained throughout as it's not too 'heavy' and as a result there's a better chance that the child will absorb and remember more. I enjoyed reading it and my children did too.