Through the Looking Glass Children's Book Reviews

Super Swimmers: Whales, Dolphins, and Other Mammals of the Sea

Super Swimmers: Whales, Dolphins, and Other Mammals of the Sea

Caroline Arnold
Illustrator:  Patricia J. Wynne 
Nonfiction Picture Book
for ages 5 to 8
Charlesbridge Publishing, 2007   ISBN: 978-1570915895

So often when we think of ocean animals we think of sharks, tropical fish, sea turtles, sea anemones, and similar creatures. We often forget that the world’s oceans and seas are also home to many kinds of mammals including whales, dolphins, sea otters, seals, manatees, and polar bears.

Unlike fish who have gills and who can breathe underwater, these mammals have to breathe air. They give birth to live young and feed their babies milk. They are similar to fish in that they all have adapted to the marine environments that they live in. Most of them have sleek bodies, and in the case of seals, whales, dolphins, and manatees, they have tails and fins or flippers to help them move through the water. They no longer have legs and feet like land mammals. Though otters and polar bears do have legs, their feet are webbed and their fur is thick so that the animals can keep warm in cold water.

All of these animals are superb swimmers. Though whales are enormous and cumbersome looking, in the water there are agile and fast. Seals and walruses look awkward when they are on land, but in the water there are like torpedoes, cutting through the water at great speeds so that they can catch fish to eat.

This excellent title will help young readers to understand that there are many species of marine mammals, and that these animals are beautifully suited to their chosen environment. The author provides readers with plenty of information about sea mammals, and there are excellent illustrations throughout the book.