Skates and Rays


32 pages
Contains Photos, Illustrations, Index
ISBN 0-7787-1325-3
DDC j597.3'5




Reviewed by Alison Mews

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


Paying particular attention to ecology and food chains, this enticing
series stresses the interdependence of marine life and the danger human
activity poses to its survival. Kalman’s use of splendid photographs
and simple text brings the sea animals and their habitats to life.

The endearing cover shot of a harp seal and its playful pup will
definitely attract children to Seals and Sea Lions, where they will
discover the similarities and differences between these two marine
mammals. The many species of each are described, including how they
swim, dive, and manoeuvre on land. The topic of hunting is briefly

Skates and Rays compares and contrasts these odd-looking sea creatures.
Readers will learn that their skeletons are made of cartilage, that they
swim by flapping their winglike pectoral fins, that some rays protect
themselves by electric shock (or, in the case of stingrays, poisonous
spines), and that mantra rays can weigh up to 3,000 pounds.

Wonderful Whales divides the cetaceans into the two subgroups—baleen
and toothed whales—and describes the characteristics of each. Their
specialized communication and migration habits are outlined, and reasons
for their declining populations given.

The more general book, Tropical Oceans, provides an overview of the
diversity of life found in warm waters. It includes spectacular colour
shots of tropical fish and coral as well as dramatic shots of hurricanes
and tsunamis. Global in scope, this book is a good starting point for
further exploration in many scientific fields. All of these books are
highly recommended.


Kalman, Bobbie, and Rebecca Sjonger., “Skates and Rays,” Canadian Book Review Annual Online, accessed April 18, 2024,