Illustrated by Stephen Bibb.
80 pages, 2022.
$15.99 paperback, ebook $7.99 Barnes & Noble, $8.99 Kindle.
Reviewed by Beth Clifton.
Getting Shelly Home author Yasmin Mohamad believes that children learn best when they are having fun. Mohamad wrote the children’s book Getting Shelly Home with this in mind.
Getting Shelly Home is the first of a projected triology called Wavy Adventures, offering important lessons about dolphins, marine mammal captivity, and our oceans, woven into an exciting story line.
The story begins when a boy named Jay and his sister Isabella receive bad news at school that something has happened to their mother, with whom they have lived separately from their father.
Their unexpected new lives begin when their father picks them up from school to bring them to their new home on Shell Island.
Jay’s very close relationship to his mother becomes problematic for Jay’s father, who tries to do the best that he can for Jay and Isabella. While Isabella appears to be much more accepting of their new lives, Jay is lost and confused about proceeding in a new life without his mother in it.
The family dog Zara, who also comes to live with Jay and Isabella on Shell Island, helps to ease Jay and Isabella’s ability to accept their mother’s loss.
A colorful local on Shell Island named Rusty befriends Jay, which helps to enable Jay to move forward with his new life among new friends.
Getting Shelly the dolphin well enough to return home to her magical Super Pod family located (but rarely seen) off Shell Island becomes everyone’s goal, but the villains of the story, including an old shifty pirate and a rogue estranged uncle of Jay and Isabella have other plans.
Rusty’s character is inspired by real life dolphin hero Russ Rector, who for nearly half a century fought tirelessly for all marine mammals, so that they could be free in the wild, not captive in small dirty tanks performing tricks for paying customers and to be gawked at.
(See Russ Rector, “the feared activist feared even among activists,” dead at 69.)
The author captures perfectly the Russ we here at ANIMALS 24-7 knew, with his gruff exterior at times, yet his warm, friendly, caring heart always! Russ was a one of a kind and we miss him very much. The dolphins also lost a champion to their cause with his passage due to complications of cancer on January 7, 2018.
We hope that the Wavy Adventures, beginning with Getting Shelly Home, can encourage and inspire the young people who read it to become future dolphin champions themselves, and to otherwise help to continue the work of Russ and his fellow marine mammal advocates.
Many thanks to Linda Rector, Russ’s wife of 47 years, for having thought of this wonderful way to keep Russ’s memory and legacy alive!
Getting Shelly Home author Yasmin Mohamad hails from Miami, where growing up around the ocean and beaches are central to growing up South Florida style.
Stephen Bibb, who comes from Jeffreys Bay, South Africa and has lived there for many years, has illustrated several other childrens’ books. The influence of the beach, the surf and the ocean life of his home naturally drew him toward his ocean related artwork.
Jamaka Petzak says
Educating kids to be compassionate, kind, personally responsible and humane from the start makes for better societies on every level.
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