- Age Range: 7 and up
- Grade Level: 3 - 4
- Library Binding: 40 pages
- Publisher: Millbrook Press (April 1, 1998)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0761304096
- ISBN-13: 978-0761304098
- Product Dimensions: 10.2 x 0.5 x 10 inches
- Shipping Weight: 14.4 ounces
- Average Customer Review: 1 customer review
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #6,996,818 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Back To the Blue: A True Adventure Story (Born Free Wildlife) Library Binding – April 1, 1998
"Children of Blood and Bone"
Tomi Adeyemi conjures a stunning world of dark magic and danger in her West African-inspired fantasy debut. Pre-order today
From School Library Journal
Kindergarten-Grade 3?Inspired by actual programs under the aegis of the Born Free Foundation (an animal welfare/conservation charity cofounded by Travers and McKenna), these volumes present fictionalized accounts of real animal rescue/relocation. Each one also includes a "journal" of the actual incident described, garnished with full-color photos that allow readers to see the program at work, and closes with a page or two of facts on the species covered, ranging from physical characteristics to lifestyles. Back to the Blue follows the rehabilitation and release into the wild of three dolphins whose combined performance time in marine exhibits in Great Britain exceeded 50 years. The rather heavily anthropomorphized text and the soft-edged, marine-blue illustrations will certainly raise the consciousness of readers, and the notation that the project is over (having managed to release all captive dolphins in the United Kingdom) may inspire children to consider the plight of captive marine mammals in their own areas. The Elephant Truck describes the first relocation by Kenya's elephant translocation project. Also heavily anthropomorphized, the simply worded text is enriched by soft, veldt-toned illustrations. It will give children a grasp of the difficulties involved in physically moving an 11,000 pound bull elephant over 300 miles to Tsavo National Park, and the need for such seemingly hard-hearted removals from elephant family groups.?Patricia Manning, formerly at Eastchester Public Library, NY
Copyright 1998 Reed Business Information, Inc.
From Kirkus Reviews
This Born Free Wildlife Book about the removal of one of the last captive dolphins in the UK to the wild--shown from from both the dolphin's and his rescuers' points of view--suffers from mediocre writing and a too-visible agenda. After more than 18 years in a ``barren concrete pool,'' Rocky the dolphin ``could only dimly remember'' freedom. A woman arrives who has ``eyes that were sad and filled with tears,'' and who, with a crew, transports him to a West Indian lagoon where he's later joined by companions Missy and Silver, and eventually released into the open sea. McKenna then tells the tale from the other side, describing how an activist mounted a local campaign on Rocky's behalf and, with the help of an animal-rights coalition, saw him freed. The first section is illustrated with hazy turquoise paintings; the second with an unsystematic selection of full-color snapshots that mostly convey how many people were involved in the rescue effort. A stinginess of detail plagues the account: Missy and Silver are barely mentioned, there are only hints of intriguing complications in Rocky's rescue, and, after a mention of the closure of two of the UK's last three dolphin shows, there is total silence about the fate of the remaining one. Random dolphin facts fill the final pages of this superficial commemoration of a triumph of the animal-rights movement. (Picture book. 7-10) -- Copyright ©1998, Kirkus Associates, LP. All rights reserved.
Top customer reviews
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Rocky the dolphin lived alone for years after his mate in captivity died, sadly swimming in his tank and performing for crowds. One day, a woman named Bev came to see him and she continued to return often, sometimes bringing other people along. They would talk and Rocky had the feeling that they might be talking about him. It turned out that he was right! The people took Rocky on a series of journeys, inching him ever closer to the freedom into which he had been born, before people captured him. Finally, with two other dolphins, Rocky is set free in the ocean, finally able to live as a free, wild dolphin.
This story is followed by "The REAL Story", 6 pages of the exact same story, told without making up the thoughts of Rocky. This section includes real photos of the real rescue. Last, there are two pages of interesting true facts about dolphins.
First, the reasons why I'm split on the age appropriate age group. The text is simplistic, written in that condescending way that many fairy tales are written. This makes it seem best suited to very young readers. On the other hand, "The REAL Story" and the facts seem to be geared toward older kids. This makes it possible for the book to have a longer "life" but it also makes it seem to have a split personality. As for propaganda - I have no problems with setting dolphins free, but there's absolutely no presentation, whatsoever, of the other side of the story.
Author Virginia McKenna's text in the first portion of the book is maddening. "Rocky wondered if Bev knew he was lonely.", for example. Really? The dolphin thought that? And, assuming that he did, doesn't that human-like thought process explain, in part, the fascination that led to the captivity of so many dolphins in the first place? So why highlight it throughout the entire story? Everything that happens is told through Rocky's eyes and, since he doesn't know the names of things around him, the story is vague and strange. Maybe that's how Rocky "saw" it, but it isn't how it should be written, if making sense is a goal. The text of "The REAL Story" flows much better, probably because McKenna didn't have to pretend to know what a dolphin was thinking. The illustrations, by Ian Andrew, are wonderful but sometimes just as confusing as the text. One or the other should be clear and there are times that neither is.
Not really worth reading, Back to the Blue's greatest purpose might be the facts on the last two pages.