Wednesday, September 29, 2021

Book Review: Kobee Manatee: Climate Change and the Great Blue Hole Hazard

Happy Wednesday, readers! I feel like this week is flying by and I'm not getting near enough stuff done. I just haven't felt super great, it's likely just stress and lack of sleep catching up to me. I had planned on going to do fun family things this weekend, but I think Matt is working all day Saturday and I'm just exhausted. I think I'll spend at least Saturday just trying to catch up. Fun times. 

Kobee Manatee: Climate Change and the 

Great Blue Hole Hazard 

Robert Scott Thayer

Kobee Manatee® and his seafaring pals, Tess the seahorse and Pablo the hermit crab are swimming from the Cayman Islands to Belize to help his cousin Quinn clean up plastic litter at her new, all-veggie underwater bistro called Quinn’s Seagrass CafĂ©. On their Caribbean journey, they encounter harmful effects of climate change and plastic pollution, along with several other unforeseen problems - a distressed loggerhead turtle, a giant Portuguese man-of-war, and a venomous scorpionfish. Then the friends discover the amazing Great Blue Hole. Their adventure takes another surprising turn when Pablo plunges into its huge abyss! Can Kobee and his buddies save Pablo?
I love children's books and having four kids means I own a LOT of them, but also, I get to read them to and with my kids. It's turned out to be the perk of parenting I had hoped for. Also, you might not know that I was born in Florida and lived there for several years before moving to the frozen tundra of Minnesota and Wisconsin, so I have actually seen manatees before and they are the nicest animals. Super chill, just kind of doing their own thing. The next time we go to Florida, my goal is to take the kids to the river to see them in person because I don't about you, but I have never seen one at the zoo. (And we've been to a lot of zoos all over!) 

Which has literally nothing to do with this book, so let's talk about it. First off, I'm going to start by saying that Lauren Gallegos' illustrations are absolutely beautiful. Penelope and Lucy loved all of the bright colors but mostly looking for the garbage and plastic that you see all around, mostly in the background, of every page. They really treated that as a look and find piece of the book, so whether that was intentional or not, that's what they really liked. The illustrations inspired my little Penelope to draw her version of the cover, and I decided that it was pretty good for a six year old, so that's the review photo I went with. 

The story itself was really cute. We haven't read any other books with Kobee and his friends, so we weren't familiar with past adventures, we were going into this as brand new readers. While that was just fine, it's not like a chapter book where you need to read previous stories, this book starts on page one almost feeling like we had missed a page or two because it does reference a previous adventure. It didn't take away from this story at all, but it had even me double checking that we weren't missing a page somewhere. 

The adventure follows Kobee and his friends on their way to see Kobee's cousin, but it is going to be a long swim and they would be going past the Great Blue Hole in Belize, which an actual place and I included a link and if nothing else, go there to at least see a photo of it! Along the way they encounter a lot of plastic and other garbage in the ocean and they rescue some animals who have become entangled in it. I think the child friendly visual of that was good because when we cut our soda rings, we all joke that we need to save the turtles, but now Penelope and Lucy were able to actually see that we aren't joking. Kobee and friends encounter new species in the ocean and while the book covers a serious topic like climate change and what we can do to help, you're also learning too. Each page has a little learning bubble with more detailed information, too. I didn't read those to them that night because it was bedtime and I didn't want to get bogged down by a million questions, but when I went back to read them, older kids would definitely be interested. 

Overall? My youngest daughters really enjoyed this and were very interested in the other Kobee books for sure. This would make a fun classroom read, especially during units around recycling or the climate, or even as an Earth Day activity. You could read this to students and maybe walk around the neighborhood to pick up trash. You could even show kids the Great Blue Hole because that is really cool and I didn't know it even existed! 

Thank you to PR by the Book, as well as author Robert Scott Thayer, for having me on this tour and sending me a copy for review.  If you're looking for an interesting new read for bedtime or the classroom, this is a quick read that keeps kids engaged but also has great moments to ask them questions for comprehension. Highly recommend. 

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