by Susan Brocker
& Raymond McGrath
There’s been much written about Pelorus Jack over the 130 plus years since the first appearance of the dolphin that was to become part of New Zealand folklore for many years, spanning the turn of the centuries 1800s to 1900s.
All grandparents and many parents will most likely be aware of the name, and this picture book, just published, will introduce it to a further generation and help preserve the legend.
The story as it is told in prose by Susan Brocker, creatively mixes fact with lines designed to add character to the animal –
Once, he found a spiny crayfish hiding beneath a rock. He tried to tempt it
out by nudging it with his nose….
One morning the dolphin felt the pulse and vibration of a huge creature
moving through the sea. Excited, he dashed off to investigate.
Such additions that anthropomorphize the subject seem acceptable in this case since Pelorus Jack was named by humans who came to attribute to him guardian status as he was believed to guide rather than merely accompany ships through the Marlborough Sounds.
The inclusion of snippets of history, dolphin facts, and Maori lore add greatly to the story’s appeal.
As with all Scholastic’s books, this one is attractively produced. Raymond McGrath’s illustrations are perfect, capturing the majesty of the Sounds, the sea and birdlife, and the human interaction.
Author: Susan Brocker & Raymond McGrath