May 17, 2010

Winter's Tail

How One Little Dolphin Learned to Swim Again
by Juliana, Isabella and Craig Hatkoff

I had this book in mind because I read about it at SMS Book Reviews and was really intrigued. I happened to find it while at the library, and it's a fairly short kid's non-fiction book, so I sat down and read it during our visit.

Winter's Tail is about a young dolphin who got caught in fishing gear off the coast of Florida. Her tail was so entangled that by the time help arrived, the blood flow was cut off. Rescuers saved her life, but she lost her tail. The little dolphin healed and began trying to swim again, but with a side-to-side motion which caused back problems and could have resulted in further injuries to her muscles and spine. So a special prosthetic tail was designed, just for her. She adapted quickly to her new tail, swimming like a dolphin again.

I loved this story. When I first told my husband about it (he's not enamored of animals like I am) he shook his head at the cost and research effort it must have taken to make that special prosthetic tail. Why don't they spend that kind of money and time helping people? he asked. Then I pointed out that the efforts to help Winter have affected people: in the first place, they had to create a special gel padding to protect the sensitive dolphin's skin from rubbing against the prosthetic. That same gel padding is now used for war veterans who have particularly painful amputation sites. Secondly, the little dolphin's story has been inspirational to children all over the world who struggle coping with amputations or other physical handicaps themselves. They flock to the aquarium to see her. One little girl mentioned in the book was resentful of having to wear a hearing aid until she saw this little dolphin swimming with its prosthetic. So now hubby agrees with me: this is a really cool story.

Rating: 3/5 ........ 40 pages, 2009

More opinions at:
Bibliophile by the Sea
Books for Kids Blog
5 Minutes for Books


  1. Aw, what a sweet story. I'd love to see Winter!

  2. That's an amazing story! Good for the little dolphin! (And the doctor people.)

  3. I'm glad you decided to pick it up. Everytime I read a book about animals I think of you!


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