Saving Manatees

Saving Manatees cover

Booklist / Uncorrected Proof - September 1, 2006 Swinburne, Stephen R.
Saving Manatees.
Oct. 2006. 40p. illus. index. Boyds Mills, $16.95
(1-59078-319-1). 599.5509789.
Gr. 4-6.


Childrens Literature

Manatees, those goofy-looking, gentle, slow-moving, bewhiskered marine mammals, have existed so long in the tropical waters around Florida that proof of manatee ancestors can be found in the fossil record. Everyone agrees that these are winsome creatures, well worth taking care of, but human recreational activity such as boating is often at odds with marine mammal conservation. This lovely book takes young readers into the manatees' underwater world to explore how people can save the threatened marine mammal. Swinburne consults a manatee veterinarian, as well as manatee biologists, as he tries to discover more about the creatures' habitats, behavior, reproduction, and anatomy. He watches a manatee necropsy, visits a captive manatee water park, and snorkels manatee sanctuaries with a class of fourth-graders in order to observe manatees first hand. The book is filled with personal memories and observations, as well as boxed manatee facts. For instance, manatees are vegetarian-eating machines that eat up to eight hours a day and consume more than one hundred pounds of water plants in a twenty-four hour period. One illustration features species of manatees, including the Stellar Sea Cow, now extinct. The book is filled with lovely underwater photos, a nature dictionary, suggestions for further reading, web sites, and an index. If a young reader cannot swim with manatees or visit their watery homes, this book with its attractive format, is the next best thing.

School Library Journal

Gr 3-7-The gentle giants of Southeastern coastal waterways are examined in this appealing title. Swinburne describes visits to a Florida manatee rescue and rehabilitation facility, Tampa's Lowry Park Zoo, Manatee Springs State Park, etc., and shares with readers much of what he learned about these fascinating creatures. The conversational text includes factual information, personal anecdotes, and quotes from the veterinarians and scientists who devote their time and research to studying this endangered species. Clear, colorful photographs and informative sidebars round out the presentation. An important addition to conservation units.-Christine Markley, Washington Elementary School, Barto, PA Copyright 2006 Reed Business Information.

Kirkus Reviews

Around 3,000 West Indian manatees live in Florida's fresh- and saltwaters. These slow-moving, peaceful, vegetarian mammals are endangered by red tides and boats. Using many of his own photographs, an experienced writer/naturalist introduces these gentle giants to middle-grade readers through accounts of his own experiences: watching wild and captive manatees at Florida state parks, observing an autopsy at the Marine Mammal Pathology Laboratory and snorkeling with a dozen fourth-graders and the manatees of the Crystal River National Wildlife Refuge. He notes the controversy over contact with wild animals and the competition between such creatures and boaters and developers. Sidebars include fast facts about the species and its legal protections. Swinburne concludes with suggestions for further reading, websites and an index. Up-to-date and informative, this will be a welcome addition to the shelf of information on endangered species in any library. (Nonfiction. 8-12)

Purchase at

Tweets by steverswinburne