Kobee Manatee: Heading Home to Florida

Robert Scott Thayer, illustrated by Lauren Gallegos

Publisher: Thompson Mill Press Pages: 32 Price: (hardcover) $16.99 ISBN: 9780988326927 Reviewed: August, 2013 Author Website: Visit »

Kobee Manatee — a friendly and generous manatee — loves adventure almost as much as he loves seagrass. He has traveled all the way from Blue Spring State Park in Florida to Cape Cod. But when September arrives and the waters begin to cool off the coast of Cape Cod, Kobee is determined to find his way home again.

Manatees don’t typically swim as far north as the coast of Massachusetts, but Kobee is an especially curious and creative fellow. Still, when the northeastern ocean turns chilly, he turns around and begins his 1,200 mile trek home. Soon he is joined by Tess, a lost seahorse also in search of warm water, and Pablo, a hermit crab from South Carolina on the hunt for a discarded seashell to call home. They band together for company and support, and the new friends discover it is easier to solve problems when you work together as a team.

Robert Scott Thayer has written a thoughtful and entertaining introduction to manatees for young children that effortlessly mixes fact and fiction. The story of Kobee and his friends is simple and charming, fueled by Kobee’s happy good nature, knack for friendship and drive to get home. Fascinating details about the manatee species are included in sidebars on each page.

Lauren Gallegos’s illustrations — created with acrylic on illustration board — are vibrant and colorful. Her characters are filled with personality and warmth, while their ocean home is depicted with breathtaking richness and detail.

Recommended by the Save the Manatee Club (savethemanatee.org — founded by the entertainer Jimmy Buffet and former US Senator Bob Graham when he was governor of Florida), Kobee Manatee is an engaging and impactful introduction to an endangered species for children ages 4 – 8. These gentle and mysterious creatures have found effective advocates with the launch of this talented author and illustrator team.

Also available as an ebook.

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Newtown, Pennsylvania
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