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Theres a Dolphin in the GRAND CANAL-by J.B. Marciano   dolpin-rope2_1490826014583_2962554_ver1.0_640_360    tagged dolphin-2017

Rolling Readers Space Coast, Inc. Commentary:

For some time now, marine life rescuers from HUBBS Seaworld Marine Life Research Institute in Melbourne Beach, Florida have been attempting to help a baby dolphin swimming in Brevard County, who has entangled itself with a fish net and rope. News reports tell us that the mother and baby were caught at least once, but when the mother panicked and jostled the net, the baby swam free before the line could be cut off of it; luckily, the mother was tagged for easier tracking, though, and as sightings have been called in, another attempt at rescue is imminent. The baby is not in immediate danger of drowning since it is able to dive, nurse, surface for air, and to still swim with its mother, but there is concern that the entangled material is causing grave injury to the little dolphin. As the baby swims with its mother in the Indian River, Banana River, and surrounding inland canals the search continues to find them and remove the rope and net from the baby. This real-life situation has prompted us to select ‘dolphins’ as our topic for STEM this time around. With so many non-fiction books about dolphins available for children, we chose a fictional story that has a bit of an international element to it due to its setting and is fun to read. There’s a Dolphin in the GRAND CANAL! – written and illustrated by John Bemelmans Marciano, is about a boy who discovers a dolphin swimming in the grand canal in Venice, Italy. An enjoyable and engaging book to read aloud to younger children, it is easily read by older children, and with a glossary for understanding the Italian phrases interspersed throughout the book, it provides a view into the lives of the people of Venice, Italy.


PreK (with support) to Gr3

From School Library Journal:

“Although this story takes place in Venice, all children will relate to the experience of the protagonist who has seen something incredible and is unable to convince his parents that he’s telling the truth. Luca Buca helps his family at their caffè, even in the summer when his friends are all off on wonderful vacations. During his afternoon break, he sees a playful dolphin in the Grand Canal, but his parents are skeptical about this news. The animal emerges again, after they have gone about their business, and Luca is in for the time of his life: he sits astride the soaring creature, waving to sightseers (and ultimately Mamma and Papa) as he flies over gondolas, wash lines, and bridges. Marciano’s watercolors, employing a variety of perspectives, capture the grandeur and diversity of Venetian architecture and the magical quality of the liquid streets. The adult figures have an Old World charm; the artist is less successful with the proportions and facial characteristics of the child. A glossary translates the Italian phrases spoken by Luca within the visuals and the comments in multiple languages uttered by tourists–a touch that adds humor and interest. An author’s note distinguishes fact from fiction and explains the connection between the gondola’s fin and dolphins. Both Italophiles and those being introduced to Venetian culture for the first time will enjoy this romp.”

–Wendy Lukehart, Washington DC Public Library

From Booklist:

K-Gr. 2. “Even in a wonderful city like Venice, a boy can get bored. There’s nothing, however, like spotting a rare dolphin in the Grand Canal to liven things up, especially if it’s doing a “reverse backflip with a corkscrew finish.” Luca runs home to tell Mamma and Papa, but when they go to look, no dolphin appears. When the mammal does return, laughing “Enh-enh-enh!” Luca leans over and slips into the canal. The dolphin flips him up onto his back, and they fly through the city, even up and over the Bridge of Sighs. Children will relate to Luca’s initial boredom, and to his frustration in not being believed by his parents, but this fluffy-light fantasy may appeal most to dolphin lovers. Plenty of lively but lackluster watercolor paintings convey a flavor of the city; however, while the book does discuss and display the layout of Venice’s waterways, it never once mentions that Venice is in Italy. A glossary and an author’s note conclude the book.”-Karin Snelson, American Library Association

Brevard County Library link to locate this book: Click here to locate this book

Other Books about Dolphins:

Summary: “Left alone on a beautiful but isolated island off the coast of California, a young Indian girl spends eighteen years, not only merely surviving through her enormous courage and self-reliance, but also finding a measure of happiness in her solitary life.” – Grade 5 –

Also found in Spanish on

Brevard County Public Library link for this book:  Click here to locate this book 



Summary: “Little Dolphin learns to speak, hunt mullet and frolic with seaweed, but can this bottlenose baby fend off a shark attack? Children can find out as this thrilling story unfolds! Reviewed by the Smithsonian Institution for accuracy, Dolphin’s First Day is a fun and informative story with detailed illustrations.” – Kindergarten and Up –

Brevard County Public Library link for this book:  Click here to locate this book




Summary: “When a baby albino dolphin caught in old fishing netting washes ashore, Paralympics sailing hopeful Felix and English school girl Kara work with veterinarians and specialists to save and reunite the dolphin with her mother, setting off a chain of events that might just save the reef from the environmental effects of proposed dredging.”

– Grades 3-7 – Winner of the Green Earth Book Award

 Brevard County Public Library link for this book:  Click here to locate this book