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Ibis a True Whale Story by John Himmelman

November 26, 2010

Children’s Book Review: Ibis a True Whale Story by John Himmelman

A fictional retelling of  Ibis the whale who was one of the first whales successfully disentangled from a fishing net, this little book is suitable for 1st and 2nd graders. It is nicely illustrated and brings the story to life. It could be used to facilitate other educational activities about whales and marine life.

In this version of Ibis’s well known story, author John Himmelman imagines that as a calf, Ibis is fond of starfish. After getting entangled in a fishing net, which threatens Ibis’s life, she recognizes the shape of the human hands trying to help her as those of the starfish. Because of this, she is unafraid of the humans and lets them free her from the nets.

While Ibis’s love of starfish is obviously the fruit of the author’s imagination, Ibis was a real whale which was often sighted along the coast of Cape Cod in the early 1980’s. In 1984 she was partially entangled with fishing net and was presumed dead since she was not seen resurfacing. Many months later she was sighted and a plan for disentangling her was put into action.

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