Tepee the Manatee

Rated 5.00/5 based on 6 reviews
A story for the curious, the young and those who are young at heart --- with photos. It follows the underwater adventures of a little manatee calf, what it must learn about itself, and where it must live. Or as Tepee would put it, “live as an ‘in-danger’ species.”
A glimpse of a life cycle that might be all but gone before you have a chance to read this book to the next generation. More
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About Helen Digges Spivey

A part of Helen Digges Spivey’s life has always been rooted in her love for the Florida she knew and loved as a child, along with her devoted companion, a bird dog named Rex. Through the Boom, Panic and Bust of Florida they learned to cope with whatever came their way within the confines of a loving, oft times humorous, creative family.
It helped Helen develop an abiding love for animals, where they live, and the need to sustain their habitat. She was elected Co-Chair of Save the Manatee Club in 2000 and still holds that office, and also currently serves as President of the Florida League of Conservation Voters Education Fund. She is on the Board of the National Greyhound Foundation, and has served on the Crystal River Florida City Council and in the Florida House of Representatives,
She sees hope that the tide is turning with people finally being able to use solar power economically, and electric cars (fed by solar power of course) helping us finally wean away from oil, and people understanding the need for recycling everything or refrain from getting it to begin with, and conserving water. Long an advocate for composting toilets, she is hoping that too will someday become an item for everyday use.
Helen was married to a career Navy Chief Petty Officer for over 47 years when he passed away in 1997. Together they had four children.
Helen has donated half of the proceeds from her eBook, "Tepee the Manatee" to Save the Manatee Club at www.savethemanatee.org


Tepee is still learning how to get to the surface to take a breath.
Covered with algae from where they recently ventured, the mother and calf rest quietly at the beautiful Three Sisters Springs. Tepee still bobbling about a bit to come up for air, looks as if wearing an algae coat for warmth and staying close to mummy. The temperature of the spring water is well suited for manatees and they don't need coats. It will shed off soon.

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Review by: Sharon Gordie on April 6, 2015 :
This is absolutely a book that is loved not only by the young, but also by the not so young!! You do not have to be a Floridian to love Manatees. This book is about the life of a Sweet Lil Manatee named Tepee. Tepee thru the heart of a beautiful young lady named Helen Spivey, lets us see and feel what life is like for these " Gentle Giants " , even as a calf. Tepee is full of character (as is Helen Spivey) and has determination to survive the threats they face, no matter what comes his way, all with keeping his sense of humor! Tepee will teach you the do's & don'ts of their world and reminds us that we could possibly be faced with the threat of not having these sweet creatures on our earth. Helen Spivey has also included captured some amazing photos of not only Tepee and his herd but other beautiful creatures that are a part of his world.... Our world!! This book will be loved by the whole family and read again and again!! Bravo Miss Helen who is as sweet and unique as Lil Tepee is 8)
(reviewed 2 days after purchase)
Review by: Heather Murphy on March 11, 2015 : (no rating)
Tepee is a fun, yet educational, look into the life of a manatee calf for all ages. Not only does Helen Spivey capture the threats that manatees face, but she also introduces you to other creatures and landmarks in the local central Florida waters. Tepee is an entertaining way for children to learn more about these animals in a simple way that will have lasting effects on how they think about our beloved manatees.
(reviewed 4 days after purchase)
Review by: Annetta J. Burch on Nov. 23, 2011 :
Thankfully, because of folks like Helen Spivey and many others who are dedicated to manatee wellness, safety, and educating residents and visitors about the plight of the maantee, a story told through the eyes of a baby manatee is classic. The story is told as a children's story by a child but is very much for adults too. Not only does Helen describe their environments, but the story unfolds as Teepee tells it in his own words, as any child learns about their environment, adventures, survival, does and don'ts and their world in general.

Two of my favorite parts include how Teepee was named and by who or should I say what? And, when his mummy teaches him about the importance of salt water in keeping infections out of cuts/wounds. This is something we (my generation/baby boomers)also learned at an early age while growing up in Florida.

My neice is 6 years old now and this book is going to be one of her Christmas gifts.
(reviewed 25 days after purchase)
Review by: hamidah hamid on Oct. 29, 2011 :
What an engaging story! And I loved the accompanying photos...Ernie on his back at the Three Sisters Pool. It's very educational too...a must read for everyone and this book makes a lovely "just because" gift. I've been curious about manatees and dugongs as they are called here in Malaysia ever since they found one strayed in the waters of Johore. The dugongs' migratory path stretches from Sungai Johor, along the coastline eastwards and cuts across to the inland shore of Pulau Sibu, where rich meadows of seagrass are found.Sadly these days, too many of them are found dead in our waters.
(reviewed the day of purchase)
Review by: litwok on Oct. 16, 2011 : (no rating)
An unexpectedly charming account of what manatees might think about humans if they could. That having been said, one thing for sure is that these animals are aware of the changes in their surroundings, especially when it comes to the dearth of food availability. The 'concrete wall' people make the mistake of thinking that the bays, canals, and inlets are their property, when Tepee and his friends make it plain that those areas are rightfully their home. A delightful read!
(reviewed 40 days after purchase)
Review by: Tracy Colson on Oct. 4, 2011 :
A very accurate description of life as a manatee, written in a way that can be enjoyed by children and adults alike. A story that every Floridian should read.
(reviewed the day of purchase)
Review by: clarion411 on Sep. 30, 2011 :
Engaging story that will be enjoyable for all levels of readers - from children through adults. Full of real information framed by an appealing story. Well illustrated with colorful photographs.

What a great read! And what a great choice as a gift - fits all ages, all genders!

Brava to the author!
(reviewed 23 days after purchase)
Review by: Mark Goodwin on Sep. 24, 2011 :
I really enjoyed this. Beautiful photos and one really gets into the mind of a manatee. The characters of the book are all manatees and each one clearly shows the dangers that they live with. Their biggest danger of course is man and what we do to their environment. This should be required reading in the schools. Really, it should be!
(reviewed the day of purchase)
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