Friday, June 6, 2014

Unforgettable and Heartwarming True Story

Unforgettable and heartwarming true story tells how friendship – human and otherwise – saves a courageous orphaned baby river otter.
Mikowski Cover

For many years, Tracy Mikowski was a zookeeper at the small and beloved Clinch Park Zoo in Traverse City, Michigan. There, she lovingly cared for all the animal residents, including otters, wolves, mountain lions, porcupines, buffalo, bats, and more.

One day, Tracy received a phone call from a farmer who had found an orphaned baby river otter in his hay field. In her newly published juvenile children’s picture book Squirt the Otter, Tracy tells the tender story of how Squirt came to live at the zoo, the adventures and adversity that awaited her, and the friendships that sustained her.
So tiny that Tracy had to bottle feed the orphaned baby and teach her how to swim, dive, and hold her breath, Squirt the Otter chronicles how little Squirt becomes fast friends with Muffin, Tracy’s Welsh corgi, and later with Bumper, the other otter at the zoo.

Squirt’s idyllic world is shattered when Bumper sustains a life-changing injury. Once again, her only companions are Muffin and Tracy. Though she searches in vain, Tracy cannot find another otter to come live at the zoo and keep Squirt company.

In the midst of this challenge, the most harrowing problem of all develops: the zoo must close, and Tracy must find good homes for all the animals, including little Squirt. The unforgettable effort that follows to see little Squirt happily settled in a forever home with a forever friend will touch the hearts of readers of all ages.
For her powerful tale of sacrifice, determination, friendship, and love, Squirt the Otter received the prestigious Silver Medal in the Moonbeam Children’s Book Awards.

Tracy comments, "This story of love, compassion, and friendship beautifully illustrated by P. M. Richard offers a powerful reminder of what is real and important in life. Squirt helps us reconnect to the natural world and shows us how the bond between humans and creatures can flourish, especially when we open our hearts."

She adds, "This is just the first of many stories I hope to tell about the animals I have known and loved. I chose Squirt’s story to be the first as she was particularly dear to me and she was the last animal from the zoo I had to say good-bye to."

"Squirt’s endearing story teaches children about love, trust, and the right time to let go. Tracy, Muffin, and Squirt show us the joy that comes from the companionship of others – both for animals and the people who love and care for them." ~ Carl R. Sams II and Jean Stoick, authors of The New York Times bestselling In the Woods children’s picture book series

AUTHOR: Tracy L. Mikowski was born and raised in northern Michigan. She grew up with a family-owned animal park and delighted in a childhood filled with wild and domestic birds and animals. Her compassion for all living creatures became evident at a very young age. She now lives in Alaska with her husband, Joe, and their five dogs.

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