On January 10, 1997, a baby gray whale became separated from her mother. Soon after, she was found stranded on a California beach, struggling for life. Luckily she was rescued and taken to Sea World where she was given the name J. J. and nursed back to health. She was the first gray whale to be raised in a marine park, and over the next several months, she became a main attraction. But gray whales grow far too big to be kept in captivity, so her caretakers needed to teach her to take care of herself and come up with a plan for returning her to the ocean when she was old enough.
Baby Whale Rescue is the true story of J. J., a baby gray whale that was found struggling and near death at Marina del Rey beach in Los Angeles. She was rescued and taken to Sea World where she was nursed back to health for many months before being released back into the wild. The story details these months from the moment of her rescue until she was placed back into the ocean. There was a lot involved in keeping her alive from feeding her specially made formula until she could eat solid food to teaching her how to hunt for her own food and making sure she recognized the calls of other gray whales. For part of her time at Sea World, she also became a popular attraction. Then when she was big enough to go back to her wild home, there was a lot involved in getting such a huge creature moved to the ocean.
Overall, Baby Whale Rescue was an interesting story that would be great for kids who enjoy animals. Although it is a picture book, the narrative is longer and more involved with a number of advanced words that would be more appropriate for older elementary age students who are learning to be more proficient with reading. The fact that the book is about an animal--and a baby animal at that--might give it appeal to younger kids, too, for a read-aloud story time with parents or educators. However, it might not hold their attention as well. The main reason I dropped the star is because I felt that the writing could have been a little more engaging and accessible for younger readers. But kids who love animals will probably be impressed with some of the fun facts, such as J. J.'s size and how much she could eat every day.
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