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A Startled Star!

This is a story I wrote and illustrated when I was 10 years old, about a manatee called Star. Star was a real life manatee that I adopted in Florida.

I sent it off to Blue Peter, who had just done a show about manatees. They sent me a green Blue Peter badge in return!

I'm rather proud of 'A Startled Star', and this just shows you what my work was like when I was 10 - I haven't changed a word. I hope you enjoy it!


       Star was an eight week old manatee who lived with her mother Diana. She had no experience of the outside world apart from the one small river in which she was born. No boats came down this river, and there were hardly any fish. The only inhabitants other than themselves were three other manatees, an old sea turtle called Darcy and lots of luscious green sea plants. Star had not ventured out of this river, her mother would not let her for fear that she could get hit by a speeding boat.

       It was a nice warm afternoon and Star and Diana were drifting along the river, almost half asleep, and without realising they floated right to the end of the river and into another waterway system!
       This waterway happened to be a busy place for speeding boats. Realising there were not on home territory Diana began to panic. She heard a noise, it became louder and louder and then BANG!! A speedboat called 'Edwina Royal' hit Diana, BANG! and CRACK! and "AAAHHH!" and "OOOHHH!" and then a final "AHHH!" came from Diana and then a horrible silence. Diana was dead. Then suddenly EEEKKK!, another boat, this time the 'Mary Lou' hit Star, "AAHHH!", Star floated to the bottom of the river, not dead but badly gashed.

       When she came to, Star found herself in an unknown place. This strange place was actually an ambulance heading to Sea World, where she would recover from her ordeal.

       When she arrived at the park she was given an overall check up. She had to be given an anaesthetic and have what looked a strange liquid rubbed on her cuts.

       She was put into a small 'recovery' pool for about four weeks, on her own, all alone. This was almost one of the worst times in her life so far. Then, she was put into another, bigger pool with another manatee called Edward and...
       "Darcy!! How did you get here?" shrieked Star.
       "I have my ways, I have my ways," said wise old Darcy.
       Star and Edward soon became the best of friends.

       "I still miss mummy," said Star a couple of weeks later.
       'When you think of your mother think this: She may not be alive physically in person, but she lives in you,' said Darcy.

       'You were always wise Darcy, I will,' Star said.
       "That's what I'm here for!" Darcy joked.

       It was an easy life eating, sleeping, playing and generally enjoying themselves. The staff at the park looked after them well, occasionally giving them treats. Star was very happy until one day Edward was moved into the largest pool in the park and Darcy to the turtle pool and another manatee took their place.

       Star was so unhappy that she always hid in the corner of the pool and didn't eat anything. The other manatee, Deep Dent, tried to cheer her up, but it didn't help.
       "Don't be sad, I've felt like you before, when I was taken from my mum. I'll play with you like Edward did and I'll talk to you like that turtle, Darky did,' said Deep Dent.
       "His name's Darcy and no thank you."

       "Star doesn't look at all happy," said one keeper.
       "I reckon we should move her into the big pool, and put Deep Dent with Doc, they're like brothers together,' said another. "I was gonna move her in a week any way.'
       And so it was that Star was moved into the big pool with her best friend Edward, Amanda, Pip, Polo, Bugsey, Bulldoser, T.J. and Lucky.

       A week passed.
       "I miss Darcy," said Star. "He is like a father to me."
       "Who's this Darcy little missie then?" enquired a turtle from behind the bars that separated the pool from the rest of the park.
       "Darcy!!" Star almost hit Polo in excitement.
       "Hello young Star, but your not so young anymore are you, you've grown, anyway the turtle pool is right next to yours," chuckled Darcy.

       For the first few days of her 'big pool' life Star explored her new home. She soon became good friends with all the other manatees. There were lots of things to do, they played 'it', hide and seek (for there were lots of good hiding places) and had talent contests as well as showing off to the public and the tourists. Star also had regular chats with Darcy.

       The next month Star had some great news. She, Edward, Darcy, Pip, Polo and Lucky were going to be moved back into the wild.

       And so ends a story about a lucky manatee and her friends.


       If you really want to know what happened to Star, she settled into the wild really well and she and Edward had a baby girl which they called Diana in Star's mother's honour. As for Darcy, he became a hero in the turtle world for his bravery in saving one hundred and fifty turtle eggs from a big bird.