Why Seals Blow Their Noses: Canadian Wildlife in Fact and Fiction


70 pages
Contains Index
ISBN 1-55110-038-X
DDC j591





Illustrations by Douglas Penhale
Reviewed by Patrick Colgan

Patrick Colgan is associate director of programs at the Canadian Museum
of Nature in Ottawa.


Subtitled “Canadian Wildlife in Fact and Fiction,” this book
presents 10 dominant vertebrate groups, such as salmon, wolves, and
eagles, by means of a friendly text and excellent line drawings. The
portions on fact and fiction are appropriately compositionally distinct
and should help young readers to distinguish their knowledge from their
views, and, potentially and more generally, to develop critical acumen
in evaluating statements. There are a few dubious claims, such as the
ability of polar bears to smell through ice, and ventriloquy in
flamulated owls. For the most part, the text attains a happy compromise
between the opposing demands—of simplicity versus accuracy—that face
all juvenile literature. It is surprising that a book that provides such
an appetizing introduction to both the natural history and folklore of
these animals does not include suggestions for further reading for
either domain. Nonetheless, this volume offers much to its intended
audience. Recommended.


Swanson, Diane., “Why Seals Blow Their Noses: Canadian Wildlife in Fact and Fiction,” Canadian Book Review Annual Online, accessed May 27, 2024, https://cbra.library.utoronto.ca/items/show/20764.