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The seal garden
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This nonfiction picture book is illustrated with stunning wildlife photographs of marine mammals seeking refuge in a seal garden in the Great Bear Sea. - (Orca Book Publishers)

When storms roar and orcas are on the prowl, it's the seal gardens of the Great Bear Sea that provide safety and shelter.

Ian McAllister's glorious photographs reveal the beauty and mystery of this rarely seen place of refuge for sea lions, otters, a variety of seals and other sea mammals. This is the third title in the My Great Bear Rainforest series.

- (Orca Book Publishers)

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Great Bear Sea, nonfiction for young readers, nature photography, wilderness, preservation, underwater life - (Orca Book Publishers)

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Booklist Reviews

With a storm coming on, forest animals take cover beneath giant cedar trees, while sea creatures head for "a magical place called a seal garden." After the storm passes, seals venture out, but a glimpse of orcas sends them back to the seal garden, where they wait for their predators' departure. Found in the Great Bear Sea off the west coast of Canada, "seal gardens" are areas where natural rock formations create underwater havens that can shelter hundreds of marine animals, protecting them from powerful waves and predators too large to enter. While the text offers interesting information, some sections could be more smoothly written. Still, the concept of a seal garden will be new to most viewers, and the illustrations will intrigue children and adults alike. McAllister's handsome photos, particularly those taken underwater, offer some unusual and almost otherworldly effects of light and color. An intriguing addition to the My Great Bear Rainforest series, which includes Wolf Island (2017) and A Bear's Life (2017). Copyright 2018 Booklist Reviews.

Publishers Weekly Reviews

This third title in the My Great Bear Rainforest series features striking underwater photographs of seals, sea lions, and otters. A powerful storm has come to the Great Bear Sea, and the marine animals have retreated to their underwater sanctuary, where rocks protect them from larger predators. Filled with pink, red, yellow, and green seaweed, the seal garden is aptly named, and McAllister's photos of seals peering above the waterline and sea lions lounging on rocks are equally compelling. Read builds a sense of the lurking dangers awaiting seals outside the garden—orcas "patrol the garden like police"—and concludes by evoking a sense of the broader ecosystem that the series explores: "It's the way of life in the Great Bear Sea, where every animal, no matter how big or small, has a place to live and a role to play." Ages 5–8. (Mar.)

Copyright 2018 Publishers Weekly.

School Library Journal Reviews

K-Gr 3—Set in the misty Great Bear Rainforest on Gribbell Island in British Colombia, this book explores an atmospheric and surprising habitat. Northern elephant seals, harbor seals, sea lions, and sea and river otters hardly spend all day basking on the rocky shores, as one might imagine. McAllister's up-close images reveal the lively show that is life in a seal garden. This refuge is part-playground, part—napping room that provides shelter from the crashing waves and protection from the animals' main predator, the orca (they are too large to maneuver in the garden). Tension mounts as three orcas prowl the edge of the seal garden. But young readers will breathe a sigh of relief when the orcas are forced to move on with empty bellies to the next feeding ground. Playful images of seals abound. Even the coral, kelp, and stones are shot with care and somehow, even in a place with such abundant rainfall, McAllister manages to capture the sun's rays cutting through the water. The text is well laid out on the page; the white boxes break up the blue/green hues of the underwater environment. McAllister and Read's love for the wildlife of the Great Bear Rainforest is evident in their respect for their subjects. VERDICT Recommended for nature lovers and those that need encouragement to dip their toes into nonfiction.—Kristy Kilfoyle, Canterbury School, Fort Myers, FL

Copyright 2018 School Library Journal.

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