Kobee Manatee Heading Home to Florida | Dedicated Review
By Robert Scott Thayer; illustrated by Lauren Gallegos
Hardcover: 32 pages
Age Range: 4-8
Publisher: Thompson Mill Press (Summer 2013)
What to expect: Ocean life, Manatee, Hermit Crabs, Sea Horse, Educational
Attention all budding marine biologists and animal rescuers, Kobee Manatee Heading Home to Florida is an educational book about a rare Florida manatee. Author Robert Scott Thayer shares his knowledge through this fictional tale of friendship and kindness.
It’s September and the water is getting too cool in Cape Cod, Massachusetts, so Kobee is ready to head back south to his home in Blue Spring State Park, Florida—a twelve hundred mile expedition mandatory for his survival. On his long journey, Kobee displays his warm and caring personality as he helps some ocean critters in need: a seahorse, Tess, who is lost and a hermit crab, Pablo, who has lost his shell and is in need of a new home. The three ocean animals are presented with many obstacles that will keep readers on their edge. During the journey south with Kobee and his new friends, Thayer provides age appropriate educational tidbits about manatees; for example, did you know that manatees can live to the age of sixty or longer? These fun facts are displayed on every page and offer depth and understanding to the story. Each fact is displayed in an illustrated scroll with a weathered and authentic ocean feel, just another way to add a fun feeling to the learning element of this book.
The illustrator, Lauren Gallegos, has done a tremendous job with the illustrations. The pages are bright and colorful, the animals are friendly and have a ton of kid appeal, and the details of the water reflections from the sunrays add depth to the pages and life to the ocean. The illustrations have a page turning effect.
In addition to writing, Thayer is also a recording artist who has won several international songwriting awards and his latest kids tune, Kobee’s Song, dives a little deeper into Kobee’s persona. The song is wonderfully upbeat with its tropical reggae vibe and Thayer’s voice is well suited to the children’s genre—move over Raffi. The song is a great addition to the story and could be used in a preschool story-time session to get those wiggles out before and/or after the reading. Educators will enjoy the mixed media of book and CD to add depth to an ocean-life lesson.
Preschool through early elementary aged children will enjoy learning about Manatees thanks to Thayer’s combination of enticing storyline and fun facts, not to mention Gallegos’s excellent pictures.
Add this book to your collection: Thompson Mill Press (coming soon!)
Listen to Kobee’s Song: http://www.kobeemanatee.com/images/loop.mp3
For more information, visit: http://www.kobeemanatee.com
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