Orca Rescue! The True Story of an Orphaned Orca Named Springer

Kids Can. Oct. 2021. 144p. Tr $17.99. ISBN 9781525301179.
Gr 3-6–Sandstrom weaves fact and story into this page-turning true narrative of Springer, an orphaned orca. The story unfolds through the discovery of the young orca in Puget Sound, the quest to learn her identity, and the discussion about what should be done to help her. Sandstrom shares her first-person experience as one of those involved in Springer’s eventual reunification. The role of First Nations and other Native American groups in Springer’s journey is also featured. The book alternates narrative and factual material seamlessly, incorporating informational chapters about orcas where they fit in the story. Readers learn where different types of orcas live, what they eat, how their family groups work, and how scientists identify and name them. The history of humans’ poor treatment of orcas in captivity is also addressed. The watercolor illustrations portray the animals accurately, with clear markings and details, yet with an endearing softness. The end matter includes photographs of Springer and some of her family members, as well as a family tree (called a matriline), ways readers can help whales and dolphins, as well as a list for further reading. The book is brief, but it has a strong impact. The choice to use illustrations rather than photographs gives it a storybook feel, and its happy ending gives the reader hope that nature can be healed and that we can learn from our mistakes.
VERDICT A strong addition to youth collections.

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