ENCHANTED EVERGLADES


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Available Now

The e-book and print books (softcover and hardcover) are now available on Amazon and other stores. We’ll provide links to the other stores soon. Please hover over the sentence and click the link below to read the first five chapters:

ENCHANTED EVERGLADES: FRIEND FOR LIFE – 5 Chapters

Here is the link to the Amazon buy page. Please hover over the sentence and click the link or the Amazon button.  

BUY ON AMAZON – Enchanted Everglades: Friend for Life

You may listen to the first five chapters of the audiobook with six songs. Several retailers may have the audiobook ready at different times, approximately 30-60 days from now. Please visit again soon to see links to the audiobook stores once they are ready.

 

Thank you. Once the script e-book is ready, it will be available for free to all purchasers of the book and audiobook. The educational supplement is in process. It will be available on this website soon for anyone interested. Have a blessed day!

This website is being updated. Sorry for the inconvenience.

 


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Kirkus Review

Kowatch combines Everglades ecology, with a tale of survival, friendship, and fantasy in this debut adventure novel for middle-grade readers.

Ocean River and Ellen Hansen, both 12 years old, are inseparable friends. After the untimely death of Ellen’s father, Ocean jeopardizes his bond with her when he accidentally disrupts the funeral. The rift grows until the two find themselves stuck together on vacation with Ellen’s mother and Ocean’s parents in Everglades National Park. When their airboat crashes, the tweens awaken to find themselves on their own, and they must work together to survive. Ocean and Ellen discover that they’re in “a freakish world” where “animals did yoga and chanted with beads, where ghosts and jumbo pythons roamed, [and] where raccoons had strange hairstyles.”

Their allies include a peaceful alligator who happens to be a “yogi master” and future king of the Everglades, a baby turtle, a wise wood stork, a fluffy dog, helpful pelicans, fierce dolphins, and a talkative lizard. These friends help them take on a mutant python and his children, scheming “playboy raccoons,” wily river otters, and up-to-no-good ospreys. The kids’ journey winds through exquisitely described swamp ecosystems, subtly distorted by man-made elements, such as global warming, pesticides, escaped exotic pets, and residual engine oil.

The rich descriptions of wildlife ecosystems make this book worth reading by all audiences; however, the action does have a cartoonish, made-for-TV feel that makes it most suitable for middle-grade readers. The book’s moral lessons are valid but still feel pat on delivery; for example, Ocean concludes too easily that “I need to live in the present moment and forgive the past, including my mistakes and [Ellen’s].”

Still, young readers will benefit from the book’s depictions of forgiveness within friendship, grief, resilience, and teamwork. (The book includes periodic black-and-white illustrations by Shinn that reflect the action of the story.)

A whimsical odyssey featuring a playfully bizarre cast of characters.


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Booklife Reviews

Filmmaker Kowatch brings larger-than-life characters and action scenes to middle grade readers in this highly visual mix of literary seriousness and fun adventure. Ocean River and Ellen Hansen, both age 12, are best friends—until Ellen’s father dies in a car crash and clumsy Ocean accidentally disrupts his funeral. When their parents take them on a vacation to the Everglades a couple months later, guilt-ridden Ocean isn’t even sure they can be friends again, and Ellen barely speaks to him. But their airboat crashes, and Ocean and Ellen must work together to find their parents and escape the dangerous swamp. On their journey they acquire supernatural talents and befriend an eccentric wood stork, a guileless soft-shell turtle, and Gumbo, a yoga-practicing, pacifist alligator who’s next in line to become king of the Everglades.

Kowatch’s descriptions and Shinn’s charming digital illustrations will leave readers feeling like they’ve stomped through the Everglades alongside Ocean and Ellen. The relationships are depicted with wonderful depth. Gumbo and his pals often meditate together, Ocean and Ellen talk about grief and growing up, Ocean’s parents share important lessons with him, and each character takes turns leading, encouraging, and sacrificing for the others in a way that feels sincere and psychologically healthy.

Yet all of these elements create a text that is sometimes busy and complicated. Chapters are told from various perspectives and the book blends Seminole mythology with Eastern spiritual practices, which may leave younger readers confused, uninterested, or just wanting more of the lively dialogue. However, the book’s quirkiness and cartoon-style illustrations, as well as its loose ends (perhaps left open for a sequel?), will likely keep them hooked. For kids entering adolescence in the 21st century, an adventure that includes real-life heaviness, environmental awareness and activism, meditation and affirmation, and a little bit of the absurd seems just right.

Takeaway: Tween readers (and their parents and teachers) will love the values, hardships, laughs, and learning in Kowatch’s thoughtful adventure fantasy.

Great for fans of the Magic School Bus series, the Magic Tree House series.


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Other Reviews

I thank these reviewers for liking the book! I hope you will too!

Disarmingly sweet, bright… ENCHANTED EVERGLADES pulls you into the fantastical kingdom of Florida, the jungle in America’s backyard, creating a believable sense of place even after the animals start talking. The parallel lives of a young boy and a young alligator weave together to explore youthful hopes and fears from unexpected angles, with plenty of goofy humor to keep the kids smiling. This is a big-hearted fable about kids of all species learning how to navigate the scary, snake-infested swamp of growing up.”

~ Isaac Marion, New York Times bestselling author of Warm Bodies

I LOVED IT!! I was greatly entertained and impressed. The prose is quick, skillful, and funny, and the characterizations of the main figures are vivid without being overdrawn.”

~ D. Patrick Miller, author of How to Be Spiritual Without Being Religious

“After reviewing the manuscript, I feel confident that libraries would do well to have this book available for their young patrons. In a world that seems to become more frightening by the day, this book is a call to action for young people to learn mindfulness skills as well as how to become more present in the moment, thus allowing them to gain an understanding of how to carry on no matter what their future holds. Young readers will connect with both the human and animal characters while learning about the ecosystems of the Everglades. This story of interconnectedness is a timely topic.”

~ Grace Kastens, Public Library Director

“This story brings the Everglades to life in a charming way, with characters and scenes that are a joy to spend time with. An excellent mix of adventure and humor, with many poignant moments (and some incredible imagery of alligator yoga!).”

~ Phil Williams, teacher and bestselling author

“The plot is interesting… The characters are well drawn… The dialog is very real, very natural, and in many places, very funny… The structure is very good… All in all, very good work.

~ Joanne Fowler, retired teacher

“It was excellent! I would never have picked a middle-grade book to read, but I thoroughly enjoyed it.”

~ Geri Morgan, grandmother

 

 

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Starred Review from BlueInk

Enchanted Everglades BlueInk Starred Review

Thank you, BlueInk for a starred review! This is the best Christmas present! Note that the page numbers and price may change as we adjust the final layout sometime late January or early February. We are hoping for a publishing date sometime in March or April. Blessings to all of you during the Holiday and New Year!

https://www.blueinkreview.com/