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Manatee Rescue
     

Manatee Rescue

4.0 1
by Nicola Davies, Annabel Wright (Illustrator)
 

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Zoologist Nicola Davies merges a heart-pounding adventure with a conservation message triggered by a life-changing—and mind-changing—encounter.

Manuela had imagined that killing a manatee would be like killing a very big fish, just more exciting. But when her father successfully harpoons one, leaving its baby orphaned, she finds that her feelings

Overview

Zoologist Nicola Davies merges a heart-pounding adventure with a conservation message triggered by a life-changing—and mind-changing—encounter.

Manuela had imagined that killing a manatee would be like killing a very big fish, just more exciting. But when her father successfully harpoons one, leaving its baby orphaned, she finds that her feelings have changed. She vows to rescue the baby manatee and return it to the river. But she soon realizes what an enormous task she’s taken on. Will she be able to save the baby manatee—and protect him from being hunted in the future, too?

Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
This is a good addition to chapter book collections and will be valuable for understanding animal conservation, familiarizing students with Amazonian cultures, and encouraging grassroots activism for tenacious kids.
—School Library Journal

...This appealing animal-survival adventure is based on a true episode described in an afterword.
—Kirkus Reviews

Young readers will be inspired by this tale, which is based on a true story, and will identify with the characters’ fight for animal conservation.
—Booklist

Children's Literature - Judy Crowder
“If I can’t teach a son to fish then I’ll teach a daughter.” Silvio Castello and his only child, Manuela, paddle their canoe along the Amazon River, hoping to catch their supper. For this small family—Manuela’s mother is dead—fishing along this river is a time-honored tradition. But, so far, they have only caught small bocachicos, small, flavorful fish. Manuela wants to be a great hunter, catching large fish or—even better—a manatee. Although protected, manatees are considered a prize. Income from their meat, enough to feed a whole village, is worth the very small risk of getting caught since their village is very remote. To Manuela, a manatee is the same as a very large fish. She actually spots a manatee and, in a gut-wrenching passage, they harpoon it and drag its huge body into the canoe. But wait—the manatee has a very small calf that will die alone. Manuela holds the struggling baby; and they head for home, planning to sell the baby for a pet. Holding the calf changes Manuela’s world. Killing a manatee is no longer exciting. Now it’s “just horrible.” She and her cousin, Libia, smuggle the tiny baby, that Manuela has named Airuwe, meaning manatee in her father’s language, to her grandmother Raffy’s care. Raffy is a healer and wise woman who lives just beyond the village’s edge. The girls take on the hard work of raising Airuwe, then go further, designing a campaign that will change local attitudes about manatees. Will their plans and Manuela’s promise to release Airuwe, once grown, back into the Amazon come true? Davies has crafted a compelling tale about the very real conflict between protecting a species and feeding a village. Wright’s luminous illustrations plus information about manatees at the back of the book weave an unforgettable, suspenseful read. Spanish words, defined at the bottom of pages, give the story an authentic flavor. Well done! Reviewer: Judy Crowder; Ages 8 to 12.
School Library Journal
09/01/2015
Gr 2–4—Manuela and her father spend much of their days catching fish on the Amazon. When they harpoon an adult manatee (a prized but illegal practice), Manuela and her father find a baby manatee beside their kill. Manuela's father plans to sell the calf, but Manuela, whose mother died when she was a baby, plans a rescue instead. With the help of her courageous cousin, her fearless grandmother, and eventually the entire community, Manuela mothers the manatee and educates the village so the animals are enjoyed not for their meat but for their beauty and gentility. Davies is a zoologist, whose knowledge comes through; she thoughtfully weaves information about the natural world into moments of action and bravery. This book is based on the true story of an orphaned manatee and the efforts of an organization (Natütama) to save the Amazonian creature. Davies includes many Native words with footnotes explaining their definitions. Wright's periodic, bold-line illustrations add an authentic folksy feel to the narrative. VERDICT This is a good addition to chapter book collections and will be valuable for understanding animal conservation, familiarizing students with Amazonian cultures, and encouraging grassroots activism for tenacious kids.—Lindsay Persohn, University of South Florida, Tampa
Kirkus Reviews
2015-09-21
In a remote Amazon village, Manuela and her cousin Libia convince an entire village to cease manatee fishing after the two girls rescue, nurture, and release a manatee calf Manuela accidentally speared while hunting its mother. Watching a manatee die and holding the injured calf she calls Airuwe in her arms is enough to turn Manuela from aspiring manatee hunter to conservationist, but it takes much longer for her to fulfill the silent promise she made to preserve the baby. Raising an orphaned mammal is difficult enough, but there are also threats from both the human and the natural world: the unsavory Clink-Clink, who wants to sell it, and powerful rainy-season floods. Luckily, the girls have the support of their grandmother, a nurse with veterinary experience, and, after an intensive campaign, the community. The third-person narration distances readers a bit, but it allows Davies to weave in details about Amazonian culture and setting as well as the endangered manatees while maintaining gentle suspense. Libia, limping and stunted from a childhood illness, proves skillful in a canoe, and both girls are imaginative and resourceful. Each short chapter includes a grayscale illustration done with brush and pen. Words potentially unfamiliar to general readers are defined in footnotes. Previously published in England as Manatee Baby (2013), this appealing animal-survival adventure is based on a true episode described in an afterword. (Fiction. 8-12)

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780763678302
Publisher:
Candlewick Press
Publication date:
01/05/2016
Series:
Heroes of the Wild Series
Pages:
112
Sales rank:
564,064
Product dimensions:
5.40(w) x 7.90(h) x 0.80(d)
Lexile:
910L (what's this?)
Age Range:
7 - 10 Years

Meet the Author

Nicola Davies is a zoologist and the award-winning author of many books for children, including Surprising Sharks, which was a Boston Globe–Horn Book Honor winner, and The Lion Who Stole My Arm, also illustrated by Annabel Wright. Nicola Davies lives in Wales.

Annabel Wright’s work has been used in campaigns for Amnesty International and the School of Visual Arts in New York and has also appeared in newspapers and magazines such as the Economist and the Financial Times. She lives in Scotland.

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Manatee Rescue 4 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 1 reviews.
YoungMensanBookParade More than 1 year ago
A girl, Manuela, wants to go fishing with her father on what she thinks is a typical fishing trip. However Manuela’s dad has other plans. When the trip results in the killing of a manatee, a baby manatee is left without a family. This situation creates challenges and conflicts that Manuela has to carefully figure out. Other kids will enjoy the book because Manuela gets to learn about what she believes and how to stand up for herself. Manuela also learns about ways to take care of a baby manatee. She has to figure out how to take responsibility and how her actions may impact others. What’s interesting about the book is that kids can learn about a new culture and start to understand the impact on our environment and animals. In the book, Manuela changes her perspective. Manuela’s values and thoughts evolve and change based on her experiences. Manuela even learns the value of creating an action plan. The book provides a lot of twists and things to consider. There is even a little bit of a scare in the Epilogue section but everything turns out okay. Review by Charlotte P., age 7, Northern Colorado Mensa