Thursday, January 17, 2019

A Dolphin Named Star

Berne, Emma Carlson. A Dolphin Named Star (Seaside Sanctuary)
February 1st 2019 by Stone Arch Books
E ARC from Edelweiss Plus

Elsa's parents are marine biologists who have moved from Chicago, where they worked for the Shedd Aquarium, to a seaside town where they run a sanctuary for marine animals. They have just gotten a grant to have an outside pen, and three dolphins have just taken up residence in the protected cove. Elsa and her friend, Olivia, help out during the summer with feeding, and when the dolphins become ill, they investigate. Having smelled an odd odor of gasoline on one of the new neoprene wet suits, the girls think there is a chemical leaking into the cove, but the scientists, including Olivia's sister, Abby, have done lots of tests and are not finding anything dangerous. When one of the dolphins dies, Elsa's parents' reputation is on the line, and the facility is audited. The girls ramp up their investigation and do some spy work, which uncovers an unsavory plot that involves one of the sponsors of the sanctuary.
Strengths: For some odd reason, a lot of my students are interested in marine biology. This had a lot of good details about the dolphins', their troubles in the wild, and the problems they face when dealing with pollution. It's a simple story, so elementary students won't be confused, and the friendship between the girls is a nice touch. I would definitely buy this for an elementary library.
Weaknesses: More sophisticated readers will see the clues to the mystery right away. While I could see that sympathy was being set up for the woman running the chemical company, I found it hard to believe that someone who cared about animals would turn a blind eye to illegally dumping chemicals, even if she were worried about her job. Again, elementary students won't worry about the subtleties; they will just enjoy the dolphin related mystery.
What I really think: I may buy this if Follett has a prebind of the paperback available. Nearly $20 is pricey for the library binding.
Ms. Yingling

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