Sunday, December 15, 2019

Review - The Spirit of Springer

The Spirit of Springer: The Real-Life Rescue of an Orphaned Orca
by Amanda Abler
illustrated by Levi Hastings
Date: 2020
Publisher: Little Bigfoot
Reading level: C
Book type: picture book non-fiction
Pages: 48
Format: e-book
Source: NetGalley

A compelling nonfiction picture book about the remarkable rescue of an orphaned orca calf, Springer (A73), whose story captured the hearts of whale lovers throughout the Pacific Northwest.

In 2002, a killer whale calf was discovered swimming alone in Puget Sound. This picture book follows the amazing true story of her identification as a member of the A4 pod, a family of Northern Resident orcas living off the coast of British Columbia, and the team of scientists who worked together against all odds to save her from starvation and reunite her with her family.

The challenges of capturing Springer, transporting her north from Puget Sound to Canadian waters, and coordinating her release to facilitate a hopeful acceptance back into her family are brought to life in beautiful illustrations that will appeal to readers of all ages.

This is a hopeful and celebratory conservation story with a happy ending: Springer gave birth to her first calf, Spirit, in 2013, and a second calf in 2017.

In addition to the narrative, there are 5 pages of illustrated back matter that go deeper into Springer's story, and include her family tree, a map of her rescue journey, as well as more about how orcas are at risk and what we can do to help.

(synopsis from Goodreads)

I remember when Springer was rescued. It was big news at the time, but kids today probably won't have heard the story. Now, with this picture book, they can learn about Springer and her predicament, and the lengths that people went to in order to reunite the orphaned orca with her family.

The story is told simply, from the time Springer is spotted as a baby to fourteen years later when she returns with a surprise. The rescue operation is related in detail, highlighting all the work and cooperation that went into making sure the little whale made it back to her family. Lovely watercolour illustrations complement the text perfectly. There are a number of pages at the end that provide further information about Springer (including what's happened to her family since) and about orcas in this area of the world. It could be a great book for use in a classroom setting.

Overall, this is an enjoyable non-fiction title about a little orca who captured the imagination of the Pacific Northwest back in 2002. It you remember the story, you'll probably enjoy the book. If you've never heard the story, now's your chance to find out what it was all about.

Thank you to NetGalley and Little Bigfoot for providing a digital ARC.

Premise: 4/5
Meter: n/a
Writing: 4/5
Illustrations: 4/5
Originality: 4/5

Enjoyment: 4/5

Overall: 4 out of 5

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