Orcas (Orcinus orca) are mammals classified under the order Cetacea. Though they are called killer whales, they belong to the dolphin family. Like other whales and dolphins, they, too, come up to the surface to take in oxygen.
Orcas can be found in all the oceans of the world. Orcas are found in pods which is the collective term for these animals like ‘a gaggle” for geese or ‘school’ for fish. A pod may consist of two or three groups with each group consisting of 15 or 20 members.
A mature male Orca whale swims with a baby whale.
The male Orca weighs up to eight tonnes and reaches a length of 23 feet. The female is however, small, weighing only four tonnes with a length of 18 feet. Female Orcas may give birth to one calf measuring seven feet.
Both male and female Orcas look similar. They have conical snouts, huge foreheads and even have similar colouring. Their top surface or dorsal is black, while the bottom surface or ventral is white. Orcas are also sometimes mistaken for the shark because of their characteristic six-foot tall dorsal fin.
Orcas have no enemies under the sea except man. They are very fearless and attack larger fish too. Orcas have a row of 50-60 teeth and eat whatever they find. Of course, it has to taste good to them as well.
This includes other smaller whales, penguins, fish, turtles, seals and even octopi. Because of the characteristic dorsal fin and their reputation for fearlessness they are sometimes referred to as the killer whales.
A single pod may contain both mature adults and teenage Orcas, but they do not travel together in the same group. These animals, like dolphins and whales communicate with each other by means of whistles.
Authored by Laura Maw
Illustrated by Mike Motz
This charming book of friendship and rescue will be a hit for sure with your little ones. Bubba, the adventurous Bottlenose dolphin, is out for a swim one day when he hears a strange noise. Although the sound is scary, it peeks his curiosity and he swims over to find its source. He discovers a very frightened, trapped orca whale who begs Bubba to help him become free. Unable to help on his own, Bubba calls for his trusted friend, Sammy the Seagull, and together with ingenuity and ability they manage to get Ollie, the Orca free from his dreaded net trap. The three celebrate Ollie's new found freedom and team up together to share adventures in the future...because let's face it...adventures are much more enjoyable (and safe) when shared with a friend.
About the Author: When Laura Maw was a child, her favourite activities were going to the ocean and picking out another stack of books from the library. She loved reading from a very young age and could never seem to satisfy her craving for another new adventure, another new imagination landscape. Writing is a passion that seemed to come naturally with her love of reading. She too wanted to be able to help someone through a bad day, or to have a unique and thrilling experience on a good day, through the written communication of a story. She has a very vivid imagination that often takes her on wondrous adventures in her dreams. In fact, the idea for Bubba’s Balloon came to her in the form of a very funny dream. She woke up laughing and felt that it was a story that must be shared with others. The character of Ollie was even developed through daydreaming about Bubba’s adventures.
Laura Maw has a B.A. Honours Degree in Mass Communication with a Minor in Psychology and a Minor in Philosophy from Carleton University. Currently, she lives on Vancouver Island with her husband and Tuxedo kitty. She has also lived in Ontario and her childhood was in Nova Scotia. Laura feels truly blessed to have lived on both of Canada’s beautiful coasts.
When I was a young boy, I sketched and painted pictures on scrap paper on the kitchen table, while absorbing all the wonderful characters in children's books by Dr. Seuss, and dreaming that one day I would create them as well.
In junior high school (middle school in some places) I learned that you could actually make money from creating artwork, as fellow classmates would pay me to create illustrations for their project cover pages. That quickly came to an end one day when, after viewing 15 cover pages of the same drawing style from supposedly different students, a teacher exclaimed, "Why... doesn't Motz do wonderful work!". The jig was up, but I still had loads of fun illustrating my junior high school's annual yearbook.
When I told my parents I wanted to major in commercial art in high school they had no objections. They had watched as I had sketched and dreamed and they hoped that I was on my way to a profession that not only I would love, but would also pay the rent. High school was a wonderful learning environment. My work improved, and thankfully prepared me for the best artistic learning experience of my life - art college. I knew it wouldn't be easy, and it would be expensive. I never considered asking my parents to pay my tuition (they wouldn't have been able to afford it anyway), and so I worked at two jobs in the year between high school and my first year of college. I recommend to parents that they give their children the opportunity to pay for their own college tuition. Whenever I think of it I always feel a sense of pride.
Luckily, the art instructors at my college never got a chance to tell their aspiring students the odds of being accepted into the art program at the college... let alone graduating from it. I'm sure the level of anxiety would have risen dramatically in all of us had we known. It was only after I had been accepted into the program that I learned that every year aspiring art students submit 250 portfolio (package of artwork) submissions for review, and from those 250 portfolios only 40 students are asked to attend the college's first year art program. I believe that it is an incredible talent in itself to be able to judge an individual's potential based on a high school portfolio, and I'm very thankful that someone saw that potential in me. After an intensive, rewarding two years I graduated and received my diploma with 7 of my remaining fellow classmates.
In the twenty-five years since that time I've held positions in the advertising departments of some of Canada's largest and oldest companies. In 1996, I saw the power of the internet and it thrilled me. Not only could an artist create artwork for people to view on a regional scale but also on a global scale, and within minutes of the artist creating it... and it could be interactive. I immersed myself in this new technology and became an award-winning web designer with my work being published in "Best of the Web" books that were being sold around the world. This was great, but in the back of my mind I found that something was still missing.
I had always been an illustrator, but I had never illustrated a children's book, like I had always wanted to do when I was a kid. How could I now make this dream a reality?
Around that time, and by a wonderfully opportune coincidence, a man who had viewed the artwork on my website phoned me and asked me if I would consider illustrating a children's book that he had written... and I said, "Would I ever!"
So it began that a kid that had always dreamed of illustrating children's books is now a man that helps writers the world over fulfill their dreams of publishing them. To date, I've been responsible for the creation of 242 children's books for children's book authors, and many of those authors are repeat customers.