The Missing Manatee

Title: The Missing Manatee
Author: Cynthia DeFelice
Pub Date: 2008
Pages: 192
Genre: Middle Grade

Skeet Waters, eleven, is on Spring Break and he couldn't be happier. He lives in the Florida Keys and plans to spend as much time out on his skiff catching fish. But Skeet quickly realizes his Spring Break isn't going to be fun in the sun. Out on one of his fishing expeditions he finds a dead manatee. And not just an it-was-his-time Dead Manatee, but a shot-in-the-head Dead Manatee. Skeet is determined to find the assailant and right the wrongful death.

Sounds like it might be an adventurous book for the youngsters right? My guess is that's what my school thought when they said all of seventh grade needed to read it. Unfortunately, the title and the first couple of chapters were quite misleading.

You see, the manatee is introduced sure. But then we spend another twenty million gazillion pages on what it's like to tarpon fish. Okay. I'm exaggerating. But that's what it felt like. And that's surely what it felt like when my kids were acting all, "But miss, what about the MANATEE?!?"

Being the fun spirited teacher gal that I am, I shushed them down and said, "Children. We can all learn how to fish vicariously through this book. Listen up. You might need to know how to spot a tarpon!" (Which by golly, I had no idea how to spot a tarpon because I never even knew of them!)

So we were all troopers. My twenty some students who read this alongside me.

Would I recommend it? Ummm...not so much. Unless of course, you're gonna be a fly fisherman!

(And to not end all, "this book suuuuccckkkkeeed" in a middle school moan, it did have a decent twist of the who-shot-the-manatee-mystery. As well as some, life is not always black and white lessons. I just wish that was played up more and the fishing less. *sniff*)


  1. Well you never know when you might take up fly fishing, LOL. I won't read it then, but I do lurrrve manatees. I remember when I saw my first one at eighteen when I went to Sea World in Florida and be quite gobsmacked by it.

  2. LOL at your students' reactions.


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