Winter's Tail: How one little dolphin learned to swim again

Winter's Tail: How One Little Dolphin Learned to Swim Again
by Juliana Hatkoff, Isabella Hatkoff, and Craig Hatkoff

I checked this movie out from the library in an effort to find something my 3-year-old and I could watch together (i.e. NOT a 30 minute episode of a girl/boy/anthropomorphized animal rescuing a monkey/jaguar/anthropomorphized animal).

Winter played herself in the movie. Because, you know.
Struck gold! We were both drawn into Dolphin Tale (2011).  I recognized the story when it came to film because Ashley reviewed this book and we did a give away of it back in October 2009I'll be the first to admit the film is rather cheesy. Still, truth be told, it did tug on my heartstrings a little. And seeing Winter swim on screen is completely absorbing. My curiosity was piqued, and I had to know how much of the movie-version was true. So, I checked out this book.

The title is a bit much, but the story is awesome!
It is the story of a dolphin named Winter who lost her tail but learned to swim without it. Then, when it became apparent that her new swimming style was damaging her backbone, she learned to swim with a prosthetic tail. (!)

So. Cool. Winter's real story is much more dramatic than it was in the movie (and the family drama of her trainers and handlers never comes up in this non-fiction work). The book gives the facts succinctly and they are awe-inspiring. Once I was distracted by some ambiguity - "wait, did her tail fall off?" but it was clarified. (Answer: Yes) A little bit of cheese makes it's way into the text near the end of the book, but overall it's solid.

The book is going to appeal to people of all ages -- it did in our family. Though Jacob was completely uninterested in the movie, he couldn't help but smile while reading the book. His favorite part was when Winter swished her new tail in Panama's face. I loved how people at Hanger Prosthetics offered to make her tail. Benjamin loves the photo series where Winter paints a picture.

Also, this book taught us new vocabulary. Benjamin learned the word prosthetic. I'm so happy that he knows it. It seems like respectful terminology goes so far in developing respect for others. A "fake leg" isn't a real thing, you know? Jacob and I learned the word peduncle. It is the narrow part of the body of a dolphin (or a fish) that the tail connects to.

Seriously, I'd be interested in a sequel to this book. Check it out when you get the chance.
Ashley's review of this book
Joy's review of the movie novelization


  1. Wait, the movie had Harry Connick, Jr. in it? And Morgan Freeman? I guess I didn't watch it long enough to see that.

  2. Hahaha, yeah. It was actually pretty good, honey. Don't worry, we can get it again if you want. :D


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