Daily Archives: September 29, 2009

Winter’s Tail – Review & Giveaway


*Thanks to all those who left comments on this post. A winner has been selected and contacted. Happy Reading!*

Winter’s Tail: How One Little Dolphin Learned to Swim Again is a new offering from the authors who brought us Owen & Mzee, Knut and Looking for Miza (Juliana Hatkoff, Isabella Hatkoff and Craig Hatkoff). I’m a sucker for an animal rescue story, and all of the Hatkoffs’ books have inspired such enthusiastic response from my students, so I was happy to see they’ve headed into new, watery territory for their latest work. Here’s the publisher’s teaser text:

“When Winter, an Atlantic bottlenose dolphin, was just three months old, she was rescued from a crab trap off the coast of Florida , and her tail was seriously damaged. She was rushed to Clearwater Marine Aquarium. It wasn’t clear that she would survive, but to everyone’s amazement, she did. Eventually though, her tail fell off, which caused Winter to compensate by swimming more like a fish than a dolphin. Over time, it was clear that she was seriously damaging her spine. But, for the last year, Winter has been learning to use a prosthetic tail. The idea came from a company that makes prosthetics for humans. It was challenging, but Winter is thriving and using her new tail with great command.

Winter is an inspiration to everyone, especially to children and adults who face challenges themselves. Many follow her blog and write e-mails to her. Day after day, the crowds come to Clearwater for a close-up look at Winter, the little dolphin that could.”

As with their previous books, the authors focus on the resilience of the animal and the amazing lengths that the human caregivers go to in order to restore and support the animal’s quality of life. The text is engaging, presenting Winter’s story in a highly narrative style, with vocabulary that is totally accessible to a young audience. Photographs take you inside the aquarium at different stages in Winter’s rehabilitation and there is a substantial amount of additional information at the end of the book on the Clearwater Aquarium, dolphins and training and also on the prosthetic company that created Winter’s tail. I’m eager to integrate this text into my unit on Habitats and on animal adaptations. I’d like to get the kids thinking about how nature informs and inspires technology and vice versa.

There’s a great website for teachers and kids and a trailer that you could show your students:

I’m happy to be able to offer one giveaway prize – a lovely package of dolphiny-type-treats:

  • Dolphin Plush
  • Dolphin Key Chain
  • Winter’s Tail game for Nintendo DS
  • Copy of Winter’s Tail: How One Little Dolphin Learned to Swim Again Book

The giveaway is open participants with a United States mailing address only (international readers may enter if they have a friend in the States who can accept their prizes by mail!) It will run for 2 weeks after this post date (to about October 15th) and the winner will be contacted by email. Be sure you include your email someplace so that I can reach you. Just drop off a comment below to enter.

Winter’s Tail is published by Scholastic Press.