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Summary: Noah, Jackie and the other dolphins loved their life at the Marine Life Aquarium in Gulfport, Mississippi. The night Hurricane Katrina came to shore, the dolphins were swept into the Gulf. Noah, separated from his mother and friends, was very scared. He quickly befriended Zack, another young dolphin, and was able to join their pod. Within a short time, Noah was reunited with his mother and old friends. After about two weeks, they were rescued; and over several months' time, taken to Atlantis in the Bahamas. This is a fictionalized account of what happened to the dolphins when Hurricane Katrina rushed ashore in August 2005 written by a 9-year-old girl.
Type of Reading: bedtime story, playtime reading, read aloud book, learning to read
Recommended Age: read together: 5 to 10; read yourself: 7 to 10
Interest Level: 5 to 8
Age of Child: Read with 5-year-old child.
Young Reader Reaction: Our child has a collection of (stuffed) sea animals, and has declared that s/he will be a dolphin trainer one day. Still, s/he lost interest in the story, and it took several attempts before we were able to read it cover-to-cover.
Adult Reader Reaction: This is a nice first-attempt for a young writer. The idea of seeing Katrina from "the other side" is great, and a great reminder that more than human families were disrupted. The story is, in places, tough to read out loud. We thought the photos would be enough for our child to stick with the book, but they were not.
Pros: Although fiction, the book offers true-to-life details about what happened when Hurricane Katrina came to shore. The vocabulary and wide-open-spaces on the pages make this an ideal book for a Step 2 or Step 3 reader.
Cons: The story has potential, but is rough around the edges (including proper grammar).
Borrow or Buy: Borrow, if you are looking for a story that can help beginning readers understand what happens in a "big storm." Otherwise, there are other, stronger stories out there.
Educational Themes: The fact-based chronology in the back rounds out the story and offers some good starting places for children interested in learning more about Katrina, Hurricanes, weather, animal rescue, and dolphins.
Notes: Winner of the 2006 Mom's Choice Awards, sponsored by the Just for Mom Foundation. Recognized for her achievement as a child author.
Literary Categories: Fiction - animals, picture book, US history, weather