Kobee Manatee by Robert Scott Thayer is a children’s picture book written with a purpose. This 34- page richly illustrated book tells us important facts about the manatee that normally lives off the warm coastlands south of the US. Kobee is a West Indian Manatee, although they are called Florida manatees as well. In the fiction portion of the book, Kobee has gone up to northern waters for the summer. But when it gets a bit colder in September, he is ready to head on south for the winter.
On his way back home to Blue Spring State Park, Florida, Kobee meets up with a seahorse and a hermit crab, Tess and Pablo. They travel together to the warmer climate and experience a few adventures while we learn all about manatees with the use of little notes called “Kobee’s Fun Facts.”
The illustrations by Lauren Gallegos are warm, friendly and vivid. They create an inviting atmosphere for Kobee’s good-hearted personality. Young children will love the gorgeous pages with the deep blue color of the northern waters and the lively sea green of the southern and warmer waters. Fantasy and fact meet amicably in this work of art.
Disclosure of Material Connection: I received a complimentary review copy of this book from NetGalley, on behalf of Thompson Mill Press. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”
What happens when a critter asks itself, “Why can’t I?” This is a great story for those of us who are parents, grandparents, or teachers of little ones who sometimes ask us, “Why can’t I?” One day, our friend, Little Ray does just that. He wants to do something more…he wants to fly like a bird. His wise but worried mother doesn’t say a thing as he sets out to try his “wings” over and over. She knows some lessons in life are best learned through experience. Then poor Little Ray has a mishap with the very creature he wants to emulate. But he has a secret that he knows will solve his problem and he escapes without injury. While he plunges down toward his wet and sandy home, he becomes so thankful for the safety of the shallows off the coast. But even in his relief to escape, he still wants to try his “wings” again…sometime.
What can we learn from this whimsical story? It’s OK to try something new. It’s OK to fail and try again. It takes time and experience to learn what is
realistic to aim for and what is not. Some of our experiences in life tell us what our limitations are. Others encourage us to take a risk and aim higher. And it’s up to us help our children find a balance between learning from experience and learning from the experience of others.
I think children of pre-reading age will love this book read to them. The pictures are bright and cheerful, and will help to draw them into the story.
Solving problems is a very important skill for children to learn. Little Ray turns tense to fun. I found this to be a delightful story. It is written in the type of rhyme that has rhythm. It wouldn’t take much for the children to chime in. I know my own children loved meter as well as rhyme. As a former teacher, I immediately thought of many ways to incorporate this story into some lesson plans. It’s a great launch piece and you could move right into a lesson pointing out how inaccurate first impressions can be. Another lesson would be on cooperation in solving problems. Little Ray and the shark worked together to solve the problem. Everyone deserves second chances. The shark wasn’t such a bad guy after all. And so on. The illustrations are bright and cheerful and whimsical. They are going to catch your child’s eye.