Monday, March 28, 2011

Children's Book Review, Astro the Steller Sea Lion

Children's Book Review by Renee Taprell

There are many books about animals rescued in the wild, but this beautiful story about Astro the Steller Sea Lion, is a real treasure. Written by Jeanne Walker Harvey and illustrated by Shennen Bersani, it was published by Sylvan Dell (2010).

Astro the Steller Sea Lion (Steller, named after naturalist Georg Wilhelm Steller) was found orphaned when he was only a few days old. He was raised and cared for by The Marine Mammal Center in Sausalito, California. Astro’s first meal consisted of a delicious smoothie made from ground herring, salmon oil, and whipping cream. The perfect substitute for a sea lion pup.

When Astro was big enough to be released back into the ocean where he belonged, he had other plans. Just like a dog finding his way home, Astro kept swimming back to the centre. After many attempts, it became very clear to his friends that he had become too accustomed to being with humans and would keep coming back.

The biggest challenge was that The Marine Mammal Centre is only for sick or injured animals, not a place for Astro to live. His friends found him a temporary home at the Long Marine Lab in Santa Cruz and eventually the Mystic Aquarium in Connecticut, where he still lives today.

Shennen Bersani’s illustrations deliver a realistic feel and heartfelt emotion. Combined with Jeanne Walker Harvey’s text based on true events, the reader is guided through the process of rescuing an orphaned sea lion and the torn emotions of the many rescuers that helped Astro survive.

The end pages contain information, activities, and extension ideas, for creative minds, making Astro the Steller Sea Lion the perfect teaching resource for schools.

Reviewed by Renee Taprell (Books for Little Hands)

Renee Taprell is an Early Childhood Teacher and aspiring children's author. Her blog, Books for Little Hands, focuses on picture books and writing for young children.

Find more Children's Book Reviews on The Book Chook via the Table of Contents.
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