cover image Slow Down for Manatees

Slow Down for Manatees

Jim Arnosky, . . Putnam, $16.99 (32pp) ISBN 978-0-399-24170-3

Arnosky (A Manatee Morning ) again focuses on this gentle marine mammal in a story inspired by an actual incident. A fast-moving boat hits a manatee swimming in a shallow Florida canal, crushing her ribs and slicing her back and tail with its propeller. Rescuers move the animal to an aquarium, where her wounds heal and she gives birth to a calf. After mother and baby are returned to the wild, a sign is placed in the waterway, warning skippers to slow down and watch for manatees. “And from then on, that's exactly what the boaters did,” writes the author, in a happy if perhaps overly optimistic ending. With the exception of a few striking night scenes, Arnosky's acrylic artwork most resembles vintage “Greetings from Florida!” postcards, as pale washes bring to life the aquamarine waters, fuchsia sunrises, and assorted wildlife of the tropical setting. Text and art work in tandem to present a portrait of a gentle, innocent creature (“She wasn't in a hurry. She had all the time in the world”). A solid addition to naturalist Arnosky's oeuvre. Ages 3–5. (Feb.)