Those Magical Manatees
By Jan Lee Wicker
Illustrated by Steve Weaver
Did you know that manatees are also known as “sea cows”? Those Magical Manatees is filled with interesting facts about this gentle sea giant.
The book is organized in a question and answer format. The author asks and provides the answers to twenty questions, starting with “What is a manatee?” and ending with the question “What can you do to protect the manatees?” We learn that human activities cause them most injuries. In fact, scientists distinguish one manatee from another by looking at the scars.
A third grade reader will be encouraged to read on when he comes across questions such as, “Why do manatees swim upside down?” and, “What is the green stuff on the back of manatees?”
The Jan Lee Wicker tells us that sailors in ancient times thought the manatees were beautiful mermaids, and that their squeaks to each other were songs sung to the sailors. “They must have been out to sea way too long,” Wicker says. However, look at a photo of a manatee and you will understand how the sailors thought the manatee was a mermaid.
The question and answer format makes for ease of comprehension, and provides all essential information. Interesting nuggets about the ‘marching molars’ and ‘teeth-flossing manatees’ keep the reader engaged.
Full page photos and interesting illustrations enhance the reading experience. A colorful two-page spread maps the manatees habitat.
Wicker is a teacher and has provided easy third grade level activities. The back matter contains a glossary, a list of books for further reading, and websites with interesting information.
The website http://www.savethemanatee.org/ed_educator_resources.html contains activities, videos and audios, and a power point presentation.