Winter's Tail: How One Little Dolphin Learned to Swim Again
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Winter's Tail: How One Little Dolphin Learned to Swim Again

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by Juliana Hatkoff, Isabella Hatkoff, Craig Hatkoff
     
 

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Winter is a dolphin. Just over two years ago, when she was a baby, she was rescued from a crab trap, her tail seriously damaged. Winter was rushed to Clearwater Marine Aquarium, a marine animal hospital. It wasn't clear that she would survive. She did, but eventually the tail fell off and Winter compensated by swimming more like a fish than a dolphin which was…  See more details below

Overview


Winter is a dolphin. Just over two years ago, when she was a baby, she was rescued from a crab trap, her tail seriously damaged. Winter was rushed to Clearwater Marine Aquarium, a marine animal hospital. It wasn't clear that she would survive. She did, but eventually the tail fell off and Winter compensated by swimming more like a fish than a dolphin which was seriously damaging her spine. But for the last year, Winter has been learning how to use a prosthetic tail. The idea came from a company that makes prosthetics for humans. It was very challenging but Winter is thriving and using her new tail with great command. The word has gotten out about Winter. Visitors are traveling in droves to Clearwater to visit Winter who has become an inspiration to adults and children alike, especially to children who are amputees themselves. The tale doesn't end there. The special technology used for Winter's prosthetic tail is being used to develop prosthetics for Iraq war veterans who have especially sensitive injuries.

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
The authors of Owen & Mzee and Knut offer a moving though less compelling chronicle of another creature in need: a bottlenose dolphin that became tangled in a crab trap off the Florida coast. After Winter was rescued and taken to the Clearwater Marine Aquarium, her injured tail fell off and she learned to swim by propelling her body with a side-to-side motion. Concerned that this improvised movement would damage her backbone, her caregivers welcomed a prosthesis-creator's offer to fashion a device that mimics the motion of a dolphin tail, enabling Winter to swim normally. The chatty text, sophisticated for kids on the younger end of the age range, is accompanied by photos of varying quality. Low-res initial shots of Winter's ordeal are pixellated (“the mere fact that they were recorded at all gives us a valuable insight into the drama of this extraordinary event” reads a note); the great majority of images, however, are bright, focused and well framed. Readers will be most drawn to Winter's resilience and the dedication and ingenuity of those helping her. Ages 4–8. (Oct.)
Children's Literature - Claudia Mills
The Hatkoffs add to their series of true, inspirational animal stories (e.g., Looking for Miza: The True Story of the Mountain Gorilla Family Who Rescued One of Their Own) with this affecting account of a baby dolphin, mangled in a crab trap, who is given a prosthesis for her missing tail. Named Winter after her frigid December rescue, the little dolphin is cared for at Florida's Clearwater Marine Aquarium, where the staff notice that Winter's efforts to swim without her tail are beginning to cause stress damage to her backbone. A resourceful dolphin lover and prosthesis manufacturer steps in to design the world's first and only artificial dolphin tail. Winter's successful adaptation to her tail prosthesis makes her an inspiration for children (and adults) with disabilities: "Winter is one little dolphin who gives people hope and shows us that anything is possible." Although the closing notes providing additional information on the organizations and individuals featured in the story read a bit like commercially prepared promotional literature (the leadership of "Chief Executive Office David Yates . . . propelled the aquarium to places it had never been"), the story itself, illustrated by actual photos of Winter's rescue and recovery, is a surefire winner. This well-told tale of Winter's tail really does give hope; it really does seem to show that anything is possible. Reviewer: Claudia Mills, Ph.D.
School Library Journal
Gr 4–6—A compassionate look at the true odyssey of an orphaned Atlantic bottlenose dolphin. Rescued from a crab trap, with severe injuries, "Winter" was brought to the Clearwater (FL) Marine Aquarium and, despite the heroic efforts of the staff, lost her tail. Trying to swim "fish-style," Winter caught the attention of a prosthetic engineer, and the Hatkoffs' clear text follows the efforts of a mixed team from the aquarium and Hanger Prosthetics & Orthotics to design a workable "tail" to keep her healthy. Full-color photos reveal the cooperative efforts of the human team and Winter in this journey toward a more normal life (some of their work has produced benefits for human amputees). Fans of the Hatkoffs' "Owen & Mzee" titles (Scholastic), or of Carol Buckley's Tarra and Bella (Putnam, 2009) will gobble up this empathy-raising tale of the little dolphin that could. A long section describing the Clearwater Marine Aquarium, dolphin data and the way dolphins in captivity are trained, and the work of Kevin Carroll and Hanger Prosthetics & Orthotics are appended to satisfy the questions of curious readers.—Patricia Manning, formerly at Eastchester Public Library, NY
From the Publisher

Praise for Winter's Tail: How One Little Dolphin Learned to Swim Again

“Readers will be most drawn to Winter's resilience and the dedication and ingenuity of those helping her.” – Publishers Weekly

“The story offers an important message of hope, friendship and universal acceptance.” – Pittsburgh Tribune-Review

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Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780545123358
Publisher:
Scholastic, Inc.
Publication date:
10/01/2009
Series:
Winter's Tail
Pages:
40
Sales rank:
741,501
Product dimensions:
9.72(w) x 10.68(h) x 0.36(d)
Lexile:
930L (what's this?)
Age Range:
4 - 8 Years

Meet the Author


Craig Hatkoff is the co-founder of the Tribeca Film Festival and of Turtle Pond Publications. Both Owen & Mzee: The True Story of a Remarkable Friendship and Owen & Mzee: The Language of Friendship are New York Times bestsellers. He lives with his wife and their two daughters in Manhattan.

Isabella Hatkoff is the co-author of bestselling Owen & Mzee: The True Story of a Remarkable Friendship and Owen & Mzee: The Language of Friendship with her father, Craig Hatkoff, and ecologist Dr. Paula Kahumbu. Owen & Mzee: The True Story of a Remarkable Friendship was published in the spring of 2006 and became an international phenomonen. She lives in Manhattan with her family

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Winter's Tail 5 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 5 reviews.
MominNYC More than 1 year ago
My kids (5 & 8) loved this book -- the engaging real-life story, the amazing pictures -- plus, it started a family discussion about other-abled people and overcoming challenges in general. We also checked out the website www.winterstail.com where they had fun playing games. This book is definitely worth buying.
lmichalek More than 1 year ago
Easy to read, educational and enlightening true story about a dolphin who beat the odds and has given hope to humans with their own challenges. A great gift for the holidays.
smilingturtle More than 1 year ago
This was a fantastic book. Although it is a children's book, I bought this for my mom. She loves dolphins and so I thought that she would enjoy reading this amazing story. My husband and I both ended up reading it before we sent it to my mom for Christmas. She loved it. It is a great book to read at any age and really makes you think about how you face challenges in your life. I would highly recommend this book to anyone.
BearFriendCA More than 1 year ago
Remarkable story of a "disabled" dolphin. People caused the problem, but people also helped her out. Good for kids of all ages: if disabled, it should give some encouragment; if non-disabled, maybe allow for some thinking and compassion.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Adorable book for youngsters who love animals.