MESA Seaweek 2008 - The adventures of Sonya the freshwater sawfish

A Book Review by Isobel Lalena Beal

I really enjoyed this book. I didn’t know anything about Freshwater Sawfish before reading this story.It is a long book. I read it in one day, but it’s a bit too long to read at bedtime. My mum read it to my little brother. He is 7yrs old. I am 10 yrs old and can read bigger books than him.

I liked the names of the characters in this story. I thought the names matched the characters really well. I liked Sonya the sawfish, and Sally the stingray was also one of my favourite characters. I liked the illustrations too. Sonya and her other friends looked very friendly. The dangerous characters like ‘Snapper’ the saltwater crocodile and ‘Noah’ the bull shark looked scary.

One of my favourite pages is page 9 – where Sonya uses her snout to strike and stun small fish before eating them. I like the way her snout looks like it is moving in this picture. The fish look very funny with stunned looks on their faces.

There was lots of information in this story. I had to read my book a few times to not miss anything. I have learned many things about freshwater sawfish from Sonya’s story. I found it particularly interesting on pages 12 and 19 that the fishermen were just tagging and measuring Sonya – not catching her to eat her. Another interesting new thing I learned was that bull sharks and saltwater crocodiles also swam in freshwater and that they eat sawfish.

I thought that it was sad how there were so many dangers for Sonya. I was worried that she may be eaten. It is also sad that things humans do, like using nets for fishing and building weirs is endangering sawfish and stingrays. There are so many dangers for Sonya, but I like that the story has a happy ending. I am glad that scientists are learning things about freshwater sawfish to help protect them. And maybe more of Sonya’s brothers and sister will survive next time.

I would recommend this book, The Adventures of Sonya the Freshwater Sawfish, to primary school children of all ages. Their teachers, or parents, can read the book to them if it is too hard for them to read themselves. It’s a very enjoyable story to read and it’s a great way to learn about endangered Australian animals.

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