Venus Among the Fishes

Elizabeth Hall, Author, Scott O'Dell, With Houghton Mifflin Harcourt (HMH) $15.95 (160p) ISBN 978-0-395-70561-2
Given an unfinished story about dolphins by the late author of Island of the Blue Dolphins as completed by that author's widow, the temptation to publish must have been strong-but it should have been resisted. A familiar adventure indeed seems to beckon as Coral, a girl dolphin, seeks her older brother to aid their pod against attacks by killer whales, or orcas. Her journey becomes a catalogue of human abuse of sea life (including drift nets, whaling and otter-hunting), and it culminates in Coral's capture for a Sea World-type exhibit. All seems to be lost but, far too coincidentally, her brother and the leader of the orcas have also been taken; Coral compassionately helps the orca gain his freedom, and he, whistling ""salmon and seals. No dolphins,"" lets her know that he will not be feasting on her pod. Her brother in turn rescues Coral, in her case from fruitless love for one of her keepers, and eventually she, too, heads for home waters. Unchecked anthropomorphism, sentimental incidents of interspecies cooperation and other moralizing outweigh any interest generated by the action. Ages 12-up. (Apr.)
Reviewed on: 04/03/1995
Release date: 04/01/1995
Prebound-Other - 978-0-7857-8992-5
Paperback - 143 pages - 978-0-440-41175-8
Prebound-Sewn - 143 pages - 978-0-606-10012-0
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