Official Review: One Dolphin's Story by Stanley Minasian

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ButterscotchCherrie
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Official Review: One Dolphin's Story by Stanley Minasian

Post by ButterscotchCherrie » 12 Apr 2018, 04:53

[Following is an official OnlineBookClub.org review of "One Dolphin's Story" by Stanley Minasian.]
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4 out of 4 stars
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Living in a landlocked country, I miss the sea. There’s always something new to learn about the variety of ocean-dwelling species and their capabilities as observed by researchers. In his book One Dolphin’s Story: The Life and Times of an Eastern Tropical Pacific Spinner Dolphin, Stanley Michael Minasian introduces a new perspective. As noted in the preface to the book, scientists are supposed only to record observations without subjective interpretation. So if they notice dolphins helping an injured animal, they should refrain from characterizing this as altruism.

Minasian breaks free of these restrictions by turning observations about dolphins into fiction. The novel opens with the underwater birth of an unnamed female dolphin. Staying close to her mother at first, she moves on to playing with other herd members and develops the cooperative skills that the author says are the dolphin way. She survives the shark attacks that claim ailing and weaker dolphins, but life for the Eastern Tropical Pacific Spinners has begun to change. One day, her immediate family and many other herd members suffocate in a tuna net. Having saved a calf that was searching in vain for its mother, our heroine breaks free and joins the diminished herd again. How will they regroup?

The harrowing scene with the net is vividly depicted from the dolphin’s point of view. The author’s ability to ground the descriptions in a dolphin’s experience and understanding was impressive. He does also switch to an omniscient point of view, providing clarity about what is happening as well as commentary on how dolphins reflect and learn; unlike, say, turtles, they do not rely on instinct alone.

A scene where the dolphins play with a turtle is an example of the author’s excellent ability to impart scientific facts through the medium of a story. The dolphins stop spinning the turtle when they detect its increased heartbeat. I enjoyed learning about how they use echolocation to analyse other creatures’ insides, something they also perform on some humans who come to swim with them.

Our heroine uses body analysis to help determine that a human in the water is friendly. Another great thing about this book is that it has got me interested in swimming with dolphins. I had heard that this might be unpleasant for them. There is some truth in that, but it depends on various factors. The details are explained in the book and I encourage you to read it to find out more.

I'd recommend this book to anyone who enjoys animal stories and informative fiction. It might not appeal if those things are not to your taste. As I found so much to admire in it, and no real shortcomings, I rate it 4 out of 4 stars. It’s written in a clear style with short chapters. In that connection, it could also be enjoyed by children from about age 10 upwards, with a couple of caveats. The typos weren’t excessive but included some English teachers’ pet peeves like ‘it’s’ instead of ‘its’ and ‘loose’ instead of ‘lose’. Errors in books could be confusing for children. Also, some scenes are upsetting; they made me tear up.

This is because the ocean world depicted by Minasian has its perils as well as its pleasures. Death and danger are of course always part of wild animals’ lives. The dangers in this book, however, go beyond those in the natural order of things. The story highlights the man-made threat to dolphins posed by tuna nets, drawing attention to human-induced damage in general. The book includes a list of organizations working for the protection of dolphins. Overall, this is a delightful, informative, and highly recommended read.

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One Dolphin's Story
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Post by cristinaro » 16 Apr 2018, 03:53

I am always an advocate of thinking outside the box and seeing things from a different perspective. Why not add a dolphin's perspective to a broader understanding of the world? I appreciate the fact that the book is both entertaining and informative. Thank you for a detailed review!
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Post by Helen_Combe » 16 Apr 2018, 03:56

Great review, it sounds like a really informative and entertaining book.
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Post by ButterscotchCherrie » 16 Apr 2018, 08:30

cristinaro wrote:
16 Apr 2018, 03:53
I am always an advocate of thinking outside the box and seeing things from a different perspective. Why not add a dolphin's perspective to a broader understanding of the world? I appreciate the fact that the book is both entertaining and informative. Thank you for a detailed review!
Yes, it was an interesting idea and the author pulled it off well. Thanks for your response.

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Post by ButterscotchCherrie » 16 Apr 2018, 08:31

Helen_Combe wrote:
16 Apr 2018, 03:56
Great review, it sounds like a really informative and entertaining book.
I loved the way it was scientific and a story at the same time. Thanks for your response!

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Post by CatInTheHat » 16 Apr 2018, 16:34

I love the concept of this story but then again, I love observing the behavior of dolphins whenever I get the chance to do so.
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Post by ButterscotchCherrie » 16 Apr 2018, 16:39

CatInTheHat wrote:
16 Apr 2018, 16:34
I love the concept of this story but then again, I love observing the behavior of dolphins whenever I get the chance to do so.
I learned so much about their behaviour from this. The neat thing is I believe it's all based on things that were actually observed! Thanks for reading and replying.

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Post by cpru68 » 16 Apr 2018, 19:38

Your review sounds like the author did a good job of mixing reality with a little fiction. I am tenderhearted toward all animals, like dolphins, so I would have cried right along with you at whatever spot made that emotion come. It seems the author took good care to formulate this story to really reach the audience not only for education but to open up awareness of the meaningfulness that our creatures around us possess. This sounds like a wonderful book for young and old alike. Thank you for your review.
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Post by ButterscotchCherrie » 16 Apr 2018, 19:44

cpru68 wrote:
16 Apr 2018, 19:38
Your review sounds like the author did a good job of mixing reality with a little fiction. I am tenderhearted toward all animals, like dolphins, so I would have cried right along with you at whatever spot made that emotion come. It seems the author took good care to formulate this story to really reach the audience not only for education but to open up awareness of the meaningfulness that our creatures around us possess. This sounds like a wonderful book for young and old alike. Thank you for your review.
One thing I was touched by was the mothers' love for their calves. Thanks for your response!

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Post by kfwilson6 » 19 Apr 2018, 20:57

Dolphins are such fascinating creatures. They are always depicted as being so clever and loving.

This sounds like a really incredible book with vivid imagery and new information for those of us who don't know much about the lives of dolphins. Great review.

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Post by ButterscotchCherrie » 20 Apr 2018, 00:45

kfwilson6 wrote:
19 Apr 2018, 20:57
Dolphins are such fascinating creatures. They are always depicted as being so clever and loving.

This sounds like a really incredible book with vivid imagery and new information for those of us who don't know much about the lives of dolphins. Great review.
It includes a lot of information about all the things they manage to do. Thanks for your response!

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Post by Sarah Tariq » 23 Apr 2018, 10:31

This book includes unique information about sea animals, especially dolphins. Dolphin is the most lovely creature of sea. I like this book. Thanks for your thorough review.
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Post by ButterscotchCherrie » 23 Apr 2018, 11:33

Sarah Tariq wrote:
23 Apr 2018, 10:31
This book includes unique information about sea animals, especially dolphins. Dolphin is the most lovely creature of sea. I like this book. Thanks for your thorough review.
Yes, there's lots of cool information in it. Thanks for reading and replying!

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