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The Great Bear Sea—Exploring the Marine Life of a Pacific Paradise

Following up the success of their first two books about the Great Bear Rainforest, The Salmon Bears and The Sea Wolves, Ian McAllister and Nicholas Read take readers on an expedition into the wondrous and mysterious underwater world of the Great Bear Sea. This amazing part of the northeast Pacific Ocean is home to some of the planet’s mightiest and most beloved residents: great whales, sea lions, dolphins, orcas, sea otters and wild salmon.

Filled with spectacular images of this largely unknown part of the world, the book also explores the uncertain future of the Great Bear Sea in this age of climate change, overfishing, pipelines and oil tankers. Can a rainforest full of rare spirit bears, fishing wolves and great grizzlies survive without a Great Bear Sea to feed and nourish it?

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  • 2014 CCBC Best Books
  • 2014 Christie Harris Illustrated Children's Literature Prize nominee
  • 2014 Green Earth Book Award nominee
  • 2014 Information Book Award nominee
  • 2014 Red Cedar Book Award nominee
  • 2013 VOYA's Perfect Ten list


"Third in a series of explorations of the coastal wilderness where the author/photographer lives and works in British Columbia, this title focuses on the creatures of the water surrounding and supporting that temperate rain forest. Chapter by chapter, the authors build up the web of life in this area, from microscopic plankton to the orcas they call “wolves of the sea.” Spawning salmon aren’t only food for wolves and bears, their carcasses decompose on the forest floor and nourish the trees. In the shallow waters of the intertidal zone, large animals (and humans) find shellfish and more. Sea otters clown in the kelp beds; seals and sea lions dine on the fish. Dolphins and porpoises dance offshore, and whales feed there in the warmer seasons. Every spread includes at least one of McAllister’s striking photographs. Sidebars called “Maritime Morsels” add explanations that supplement the lengthy, informative text. As much an invitation to readers to visit this unspoiled area as a description of its wonders, this is a commendable complement to The Sea Wolves and The Salmon Bears (both 2010)." Kirkus — August 15, 2013

[Starred review] "Solid non-fiction: organized, clear, and reliable. What sets The Great Bear Sea apart from other books of its ilk, however, is the bumptious energy of its writing. Its spirit is that of two little boys, roaring around the seashore and calling to each other to see the latest cool thing. A chatty, avuncular style and gift for accessible metaphors...sometimes explode into sheer joy...The enthusiasm is contagious. Also distinctive is the book’s design. Unobtrusive text layout and a restrained use of sidebars make room for stunning photographs...This is a book to read all the way through, to appreciate the big, amazing picture and serious message." Quill & Quire — July 1, 2013

"Generous quantities of excellent nature photos include engaging close-ups of otter and seal faces, dramatic shots of humpback whales and other finny mammals breaching, and particularly dazzling close-ups of sea stars and other residents of intertidal zones. Along with plenty of eye candy, though, the whole notion that a rainforest ecosystem doesn’t stop at the shoreline makes this particularly valuable for students of ecology and environmental conservation. A handsome, well-designed introduction." Booklist — September 15, 2013

"There’s an incredibly strong sense of place in the images and sensory detail in this presentation. As in the earlier books, the style of writing makes this book a most engaging read. It’s highly appealing conversational tone is both entertaining and informative...The book does a superb job of underlining the interconnectedness of life in the entire Great Bear Rainforest ecosystem—including the sea—and leaves readers with a certainty that this unique and spectacular place deserves our interest, our respect and our efforts to keep it intact. Highly Recommended." CM Magazine — September 13, 2013

"The ecological emphasis is timely and worthwhile." School Library Journal — October 1, 2013

"A colourful mix of informational text and contextual photography...Loaded with sidebars and fun facts...The book advocates thoughtfully for conservation and environmental protection...An important book [that] should be widely read...Makes an articulate plea on behalf of the creatures—including humans—who live in this exquisite, ecologically sensitive region." Resource Links — October 1, 2013

"Shots of breaching whales, dolphins and orcas are spectacular, but it’s the images of a bear eating herring eggs on a rocky shoreline, wolves fishing for salmon and the surprising red, purples and oranges of the intertidal zone that make this book special." Finding Solutions newsletter — November 1, 2013

"A beautiful book, complete with gorgeous photos, a bibliography, website information and an excellent index...I highly recommend it for addition to middle school and high school libraries." Southwestern Ohio Young Adult Materials Review Group — January 1, 2014

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Get the Books

/ Great Bear BooksOrca Book Publishers

Purchase The Salmon Bears, The Sea Wolves and The Great Bear Sea. Available in print and digital editions. Discounts available for schools and libraries.

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Teachers' Guides

Use Great Bear books in your classroom? Download our teachers' guides for The Salmon Bears and The Sea Wolves.

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More Great Bear

/ Nowhere Else On EarthOrca Book Publishers

A hands-on guide to the magic and majesty of British Columbia's Great Bear Rainforest, with suggestions for activism in any community.

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