Manatee Baby

Heroes of the Wild

Publisher: Walker Books

Review

Manuela loves fishing on the Amazon River with her father, Silvio. When they see a manatee and her calf in the water, they can’t believe their luck. Although it is illegal to hunt them, the police do not enforce the law and manatee meat can be traded for almost anything, not to mention the prestige that is associated with killing such a creature.

Silvio expertly harpoons the manatee, but Manuela’s initial elation soon turns to dismay, as its death is drawn-out, bloody and brutal. As they paddle back to the village, Manuela cradles the orphaned calf in her arms. She is filled with remorse and vows that she will return the baby to the wild, where he can live in peace. However, her promise proves difficult to keep. How can one girl change the hearts and minds of an entire community and convince them that these beautiful creatures should be protected rather than hunted?

This moving chapter book is based on a true story and eloquently highlights the potential conflict between people’s livelihoods and animal welfare. With black-and-white illustrations and factual information about these endangered marine mammals, it is a powerful tale in the compelling Heroes in the Wild series.

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