By Bianca Schulze, The Children’s Book Review
Published: April 25, 2011
Astro: The Steller Sea Lion
By Jeanne Walker Harvey (Author), Shennen Bersani (Illustrator)
Reading level: Ages 4-9
Hardcover: 32 pages
Publisher: SylvanDellPublishing (August 10, 2010)
What to expect: Sea lions, Marine mammals, Fictionalized non-fiction
Astro is an orphaned sea lion pup who is rescued and taken to the Marine Mammal Center in Sausalito, CA—a nonprofit veterinary research hospital and educational center dedicated to the rescue and rehabilitation of ill and injured marine mammals. Harvey adeptly tells the true story of Astro’s nurtured recovery and the many attempts and struggles to reconnect him with living in the wild. Being such a young pup at the time of his rescue, Astro’s bond with people has him continually returning to the shores and resisting the ocean. Left with no other choice, the wonderful team at the Marine Mammal Center found Astro a new home at the Mystic Aquarium in Mystic, CT, whose mission is to inspire people to care for and protect our ocean planet through education, research and exploration. The mixed-media illustrations by Bersani, at first glance, are of photographic quality and match the tone of the story well, adding depth and sentiment to Harvey’s words. The text is well placed and large, making it easy to read.
The publisher, Sylvan Dell Publishing, only publishes picture books that have a strong educational purpose and this shows in the support materials included at the back of the book. The “For Creative Minds” section boasts sea lion facts (including comparisons between sea lions and seals), maps, and other fun and educational information. Visit the publisher’s website and you’ll discover many links to further explore the world of Astro. Children will be fascinated by Astro’s touching story and the back matter makes it a great choice for homeschoolers or the classroom.
It is also a treasure to know that the author donates a percentage of her royalties to the Marine Mammal Center and the Mystic Aquarium.Thank you, Jeanne Walker Harvey, for bringing young readers attention to the care and needs of our local wildlife!
Add this book to your collection: Astro: The Steller Sea Lion
If you like this book, you may also like: Winter’s Tail: How One Little Dolphin Learned To Swim Again by Juliana Hatkoff, Isabella Hatkoff, Craig Hatkoff
Thanks, Bianca, for the terrific review of ASTRO THE STELLER SEA LION. It’s been such a thrill to be able to share his story with readers and children at schools. I just received a book written and illustrated by children at a school in Port Alice, British Columbia — they were inspired by the ASTRO THE STELLER SEA LION book and wrote a story about a rescued Steller sea lion in their town named Kaouk.
You’re very welcome. Thank you for telling Astro’s inspiring story so thoughtfully!
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