Everyone knows dolphins are smart. But why are they smart? How did such a sophisticated mind arise in the ocean?  
The answer can’t be found in a concrete tank. If you want to know why dolphins are smart, you must ask: what is happening out in the wild, in the dolphins’ natural environment? Why does a wild dolphin need to be smart? ¬†Perhaps the best place in the world to answer this question is in Shark Bay, Western Australia. Using sponges as tools is just one of the astonishingly odd, creative, and ingenious things these dolphins do. The Dolphins of Shark Bay challenges readers to consider how intelligence evolves and how we treat other intelligent creatures.  
National Science Teachers Association Outstanding Science Trade Book
School Library Journal Best Book of the Year
Kirkus Reviews Best Book of the Year
Bank Street College Best Children's Books of the Year List
Golden Kite Nonfiction Honor
AAAS Science Books & Films Best Book of the Year
Junior Library Guild Selection
Bulletin of the Center for Children's Books starred review
Kirkus starred review
School Library Journal starred review
Kirkus Reviews starred review:
"If dolphins learn how to use tools from their mothers, does that mean they have a culture? This is only one of the interesting questions addressed in this latest entry in the Scientists in the Field series … Smoothly woven into the text are facts about dolphin life and evolution as well as methods of scientific observation. This fascinating window into their complicated society (“a juvenile dolphin’s world resembles middle school. But with sharks”) is illustrated with clearly identified photographs of the dolphins as well as the scientists. … An exemplary addition to an always thought-provoking series. "
School Library Journal starred review:
"Turner's newest offering tops even her stellar The Frog Scientist (2009) and Project Seahorse (2010, both Houghton Mifflin) as she delineates and explains the research being conducted on a unique clan of dolphins at Shark Bay, Australia … A challenging, attractive eye-opener."
Bulletin of the Center for Children's Books starred review:
"She's self-centered, her kid needs foster care, and her own family won't have anything to do with her." No, she's not the mother in a YA novel, but one of the dolphins being studied in this captivating new outing in the venerable Scientists in the Field series … While being deliberately anti-mythical about dolphins ("Dolphins aren't noble elves in wetsuits"), the book conveys the wonder of learning more about the intricacy of another species, and readers will be won over by the dolphins and the science."
photographs by Scott Tuason
Scientists in the Field
Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 2013
hardcover ISBN 978-0547716381
paperback ISBN 978-0544809093
discussion guide
scientist Janet Mann observes
Lick and her calf, Cheeky
Copyright 2008- Pamela S. Turner. All rights reserved. Privacy Policy.
All materials on this site may be copied for classroom or library use but may not be reprinted or resold for commercial purposes.