Finding Out About Whales


40 pages
Contains Photos, Index
ISBN 1-895688-80-9
DDC j599.5






Illustrations by Susan Nagy
Reviewed by Alison Mews

Alison Mews is co-ordinator of the Centre for Instructional Services at
Memorial University of Newfoundland.


Finding Out About Whales focuses on how scientists discover knowledge
about five different species of whales: blue, humpback, gray, beluga,
and orca. For each whale, there is a double-page color photo over which
are imposed questions that will be explored in that chapter (e.g.,
“How do we track them?”). Subsequent pages are devoted to answering
the questions and include research notes, excellent color photos, and
highly informative captions. The discoveries are attributed to specific
scientists, who are named throughout and acknowledged with a photo and
short biography at the end. There is a simple table of contents and a
detailed index, and the layout is varied and inviting.

Because whales are so immense, it is difficult for children to grasp
their proportions. The author uses comparisons that children can readily
understand. They will be astounded to learn, for example, that blue
whales can consume the equivalent of 64,000 cereal bowls of food per
day; that they are as large as a basketball court; and that they can
make their own underwater long-distance calls from thousands of
kilometres away. Kelsey uses a similar style in describing the efforts
of scientists, such as how their counting of whales in the ocean is akin
to counting minnows in a pond, and why Fred Sharpe spent two years in a
lab investigating bubbles to understand how bubble-blowing helps
humpback whales catch fish. Serious readers and browsers alike will be
enriched by this book. Highly recommended.


Kelsey, Elin., “Finding Out About Whales,” Canadian Book Review Annual Online, accessed June 12, 2024,