Monday, May 5, 2014

Nonfiction Monday

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For Nonfiction Monday  --  "The Dolphins of Shark Bay" by Pamela S. Turner with photographs by Scott Tuason.




Veteran "Scientist in the Field" writer, Pamela Turner's talent highlights Janet Mann and her work on the Shark Bay Dolphin Project. Most everyone agrees that dolphins are smart. The Shark Bay Dolphin Project is a twenty-five yearlong study of wild dolphins to discover WHY they are smart.



The answer appears to be in their response to problem solving. Studying mother/calf pairs taught researchers that mother dolphins employee a wide variety of hunting techniques-- some of which include the use of sponges as tools. Skills are passed from mother to child. The complexities of dolphin society are made very clear as readers come to know Puck, her daughter Piccolo, her granddaughters, Flute and Eden along with agile Dodger, the amazing hunter, Wedges, neglectful mom, Nicky and a host of others -- each with their individual personalities and skills. 

Turner follows Mann and her fellow researchers through a season of observations, discoveries and behavior assessments. Turner also provides an enlightening peek into Mann's background and the education and experience that eventually brought her to the Shark Bay Dolphin Project.

Turner's writing is smart, engaging, and informative and will leave readers with a better appreciation for the dedication and complex work of field scientists and a deeper understanding of a dolphin's life in the wild. She also articulates questions regarding whether or not dolphins should be kept in captivity and if so, under what circumstances.  An author's note concludes the book to offer readers additional resources for exploring this fascinating topic and provide updates on familiar friends both human and cetacean.

Tuason's photographs are fresh and bring the dolphins of Shark Bay into brilliant focus.

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