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An introduction to the life cycle of the harp seal is illustrated by Arctic photographs and describes the harsh conditions under which pups are born and forced to survive on their own from two weeks of age.
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An Arctic ice slab seems an especially cold delivery table, but for baby harp seals, it's also their crib and their nursery. As in other cooperative efforts by Matthews and Guravich (Wetlands, 1994, etc.), the full-color photographs and text jointly convey information about the life-cycle of the harp seal. The babies must put on weight quickly, for their layer of blubber protects them from the sub-zero temperatures. After about 25 days, the seals are on their own; without their parents' help they have to learn first to swim, and then to hunt. The large photos show details mentioned in the text: the harp-shaped patterns on the adult seal's fur (for which the seals are named) and their sharp nails, used to climb up out of the water. The book will be useful for reports, but doesn't pander to that function. There is no mention of the cruel practice of hunting baby seals, which was a major issue in the 1970s and '80s. Matthews names walruses, killer whales, and sharks as the seals' enemies, but it's a glaring omission not to include humans on the list. (map) (Picture book/nonfiction. 7-10) -- Copyright ©1996, Kirkus Associates, LP. All rights reserved.From Booklist:
Gr. 3^-5, younger for reading aloud. Librarians won't need to work very hard to promote this book, thanks to the captivating close-up of one of these gorgeous, furry, snow white creatures on the cover. Once inside, youngsters won't be disappointed either. The story of a female harp-seal pup unfolds through pages loaded with spectacular photography and a brief but engaging text. Matthews begins with some general information on adult harp seals, including facts about habitat, diet, and special characteristics that aid survival in severe cold. The second half of the book relates the pup's earliest interactions with mom and first experiences fending for itself at the ripe old age of 12 days. Because photo-essays such as this tend to cross ability and age barriers, preschoolers are just as likely as middle-schoolers to check this out. Put it on a display table, and watch it go. Lauren Peterson
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Book Description Simon & Schuster Children's Pu, 1997. Hardcover. Condition: New. Never used!. Seller Inventory # P110689800142
Book Description Simon & Schuster Children's Publishing. Hardcover. Condition: New. 0689800142 New Condition. Seller Inventory # NEW7.1200692
Book Description Simon & Schuster Children's Publishing, 1997. Condition: New. Dan Guravich (illustrator). book. Seller Inventory # M0689800142