Home > Uncategorized > The Last of Maui’s Dolphins by Maria Gill, Illus Bruce Potter

The Last of Maui’s Dolphins by Maria Gill, Illus Bruce Potter

February 4, 2014

mauis dolphinsThe Last of Maui’s Dolphins by Maria Gill, Illus Bruce Potter. Pub.  New Holland, 2014.

A non fiction work that reads and looks like a picture book but it is deadly serious.

When Hiriwa was born he heard his pod say “fifty Five Left” He wonders what that meant and learns that the day he was born the last cub was taken by the “dark shapes” on the surface. “Never go there” warns his mother but you know what children are like.

Hiriwa with his fish friend Spotty and octopus Squiggles stray near the surface in their play and the dark shapes come. Hiriwa slips away to find his friends trapped in a set net and uses all his initiative to set them free. Hurrah!!

Maria Gill with her poignant text and dialogue relates a story of the endangered Maui’s dolphin and their close relative the Hectors dolphin. The text is simple almost poetic and it tells an urgent story. Fishing techniques are threatening dolphin life. It must stop.

Bruce Potter compliments the text with some of the best illustrations I have seen for some time. The dolphins especially Hiriwa have an adorable presence The character and expressions are a delight to see. Spotty and Squiggles and the other sea creatures are brilliant too.

The most powerful illustration is the fish and Hiriwa’s friends trapped in a set net. Get them out of there! Now! and the most prophetic image is the two fishermen looking nonchalantly on as Hiriwa distracts them while the net is pulled closer to the fishing boat. Do the fishermen really care about what they are doing.

Very powerful and moving. Mostly for juniors but everyone can benefit by reading this. Essential school library purchase.

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