Saturday, February 26, 2011

SPL Shelf Life [kids]

These reviews appeared in the Stratford Gazette on February 24, 2011
Written by Sally Hengeveld, Librarian

Winter’s Tail: How One Little Dolphin Learned to Swim Again, by Juliana, Isabella and Craig Hatkoff, 32 pages.

@ SPL: J 639.979533 Hat

When Winter, a young female bottlenose dolphin, was caught in a crab trap, she almost died from her injuries. Brought to the Clearwater Marine Aquarium in Florida, she gradually recovered, but her tail had been so badly mangled that it had to be amputated. When Winter began to swim again, she moved her body in a sideways movement instead of the up-and-down tail motion normally used by a dolphin. Aquarium staff members, who had come to love her, were worried, knowing that swimming in this way would seriously injure the little dolphin’s spine and internal organs. What to do?

Modern technology came to the rescue with a solution: a new tail for Winter!

A prosthetic design team (which volunteered its time) was able to develop a unique “sleeve” and a tail that allowed the natural motion of an actual dolphin tail. The sleeve would hold the tail in place.

After hours of training and practice, Winter was able to use her new tail to swim “normally”, and the staff and her many fans at the Aquarium were as happy with the results as she was.

Today, still living at the Aquarium, she continues to delight visitors, and her many fan emails and letters prove that her recovery story inspires children around the world who themselves face physical challenges. Readers of all ages will be fascinated with Winter’s story, which is accompanied here with many large, colourful photos.

** Recommended for ages 6 to 10 years.

Turtle, Turtle, Watch Out! By April Pulley Sayre, 32 pages.
@ SPL: JP Sayre

A baby turtle’s story begins late at night on a Florida beach. As an egg, Turtle is buried by her mother in the sand. About two months later she hatches and claws her way up through the sand with the other hatchlings. She crawls toward the water and lets the waves carry her seaward.

In the Gulf of Mexico, Turtle drifts about in patches of seaweed and sargassum, growing bigger as she eats the tiny plants and sealife around her. After a few months, she is big enough to swim, and then she can travel quickly in the water, using her flippers like underwater wings.

Later in her life, Turtle becomes a mother, laying her eggs deep in the sand.

At every stage of her life, Turtle is lucky enough to escape the many dangers that sea turtles face: raccoons which eat turtle eggs, vehicles which sometimes drive over the hatchlings as they crawl toward the water, fishnets which trap turtles as well as fish, pollution and plastic bags (which could choke a turtle).

All species of sea turtles are now rare and in danger of extinction. Children will learn about these marvelous creatures, the threats which they face, and how people can help turtles in this lovely new picture book.

** Recommended for ages 4 to 8 years.

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