Two "Fins Up" for Winter's Tail

The true story of a dolphin with an artificial tail

  • Grades: 3–5, 6–8

Winter's Tail is a heartwarming true story about a young dolphin that had to learn to swim again after losing her tail. Winter, a baby Atlantic bottle-nose dolphin, was fitted with an artificial, or prosthetic, tail after her own was lost to a crab net.

Winter was only two-months old when she became entangled in the net. She was freed by fishermen who took her to the Clearwater Marine Aquarium in Winters Park, Florida. The dramatic photographs and captions in the book provide a behind-the-scenes look at her rescue and recovery from near death.

The photographs bring to life the story of Winter's struggle to learn to swim again without a tail. She succeeded, but the effort was damaging her spine. Aquarium staff, engineers, and scientists worked together to fit Winter with a prosthetic tail.

The tail is a first— flexible enough for movement and durable enough for swimming.

Readers will learn all about Winter's successful struggle to adapt to her new tail. Her story of overcoming hardships is an inspiration to everyone, but especially to people who face similar situations.

The book is the fifth in a series by Hatkoff and his school-aged daughters. They also wrote Owen and Mzee: The True Story of a Remarkable Friendship (2006), Owen and Mzee: The Language of Friendship (2007), Knut: How One Little Polar Bear Changed the World (2007), and most recently, Looking for Miza: The True Story of the Mountain Gorilla Family Who Rescued One of Their Own (2008).

Winter's Tail  is highly recommended for anyone who loves animals, faces challenges, or just wants to grab a great book.

Do yourself a favor and "flip" through the pages of Winter's Tail.

Take a virtual field trip to the Clearwater Marine Aquarium and find out how to log onto a Web cast  from Winter's home in Florida on Winter's website.


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