Monday, May 21, 2012

Nonfiction Monday: The Salmon Bears by Ian McAllister and Nicholas Read

I've put off a review of this book for over a year because I couldn't decide how to write it in such a way to convey how amazing this story is. I will start by saying that I am now completely fascinated by bears and the Northwest coastal area.

This is the story of the Great Bear Rainforest, a coastal temperate rainforest on the west coast of British Columbia that is home to First Nations people, an amazing variety of animal and plant life, and bears. Grizzly bears, American black bears, and spirit bears, a rare species of black bears.

In loving detail, photographs, and lush language, McAllister and Read describe the beauties of the Great Bear Rainforest and the bears that live there; the amazing discoveries that have been made about these mysterious animals, the wilderness that still remains to be explored, and how the bears have adapted to their special environment.

The book is divided into the four seasons and the reader follows the bears through the cycle of the seasons and their lives as they hunt for different kinds of food, mate, give birth, and raise their cubs, face enemies, and survive in their natural habitat.

The final chapter talks about the threats faced by the bears and the rainforest - only a small part of the forest is protected and logging and other industrial activities endanger the area while trophy hunting endangers the bears themselves. The authors recognize the varied concerns but are clearly on the side of the bears and the wonders of the rainforest. Suggestions of places to go to help and an index complete the book.

Verdict: The amount of text will be daunting to reluctant readers, but many middle grade children will find this a fascinating and eye-opening read, as will adults! Highly recommended.

ISBN: 9781554692057; Published April 2010 by Orca Books; Borrowed from the library; Purchased for the library; Added to my personal wishlist

10 comments:

Playing by the book said...

Gosh, I didn't know there were rainforests in N America... sounds like _I_ need this book! Have you seen the film Grizzly Man by Werner Herzog? http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0427312/ Herzog's style doesn't suit everyone, but I thought this was an amazing film about bears and loving them (parents may wish to find out more about the film before letting kids watch it as the ending is rather shocking)

Jennifer said...

I know! Me neither - totally fascinating. He's got another one about the wolves that live there too. They eat fish and swim between the little islands on the coast!

Myra Garces-Bacsal from GatheringBooks said...

This looks like an awesome nonfiction reading material. I hear you though about reluctant readers and the possibility of them snoozing off if it is text-heavy. As an adult, though, I am sure that this is something I'd enjoy going over. Perhaps if there is more guided adult supervision, the reluctant readers would be more keen on reading through it? :)

Perogyo said...

This book, and the name of your library, are why I always think you are Canadian. ;)

This looks like a great book, perfect for me to introduce west coast wildlife to my kids. Thanks for the introduction.

Jennifer said...

He's actually got some adult titles as well, but I think the middle grade books are just so dynamic, both for a serious younger reader and an adult.

Ha! I aspire to live in the Northwest and there are quite a few things I love about Canada...someday I want to visit Vancouver and TCAF...so maybe I'm secretly Canadian?

Perogyo said...

If you love Tim Horton's then definitely. :)

Jennifer said...

Not Canadian after all )-: I had to look that up! I'm a tea drinker - never coffee. So they might not let me move to the NW...

Perogyo said...

I don't like coffee either (hmmmm, are you my alternate Jen?) but Tim Horton's has tea and milk, but it's all about soup and sandwiches to me!

Jennifer said...

I may very well be!

Tammy Flanders said...

I read The Sea Wolves by the same authors first and enjoyed it so much that I looked up the one about the bears. They do a good job informing us and I love the pictures. I would agree with your assessment about the reading level.
Thanks for participating in this week's Nonfiction Monday event.
Tammy