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A beautifully illustrated, lyrical and informative story about dugongs, one of our most unique endangered animals. Ideal for anyone with an interest in marine life and the environment, and an excellent teaching resource.

There are not many dugongs left in the world now. But what if humans freed the sea from nets? What if we cleared it of rubbish so that seagrass could flourish again and dugongs could feed?

A beautiful and thought-provoking picture book about dugongs – the mysterious creatures who were once mistaken for mermaids. Deborah’s Kelly’s beautiful, lyrical writing brings these animals to life, and highlights the dangers they face, inspiring young readers to care for and protect our natural world. Lisa Stewart’s gorgeous illustrations capture the beauty of these gentle and endangered creatures.


Dugong Magic is a poetic and magical picture book with a strong message of conservation and ecology that encourages readers to appreciate the wonder of these remarkable marine creatures at great risk of extinction. Full of fascinating information about the history and lives of dugongs, this is also an exquisitely written and illustrated story bound to captivate young children.
Sydney Writers Festival
Gifted and word perfect, Deborah Kelly's passion for marine biology shines in her work. She uses story-telling as a conduit for strong messages about the responsibility we all have, regardless of age, to respect and protect all living things wherever they are found.
[ONLINE] Kids Book Review
This gorgeous book is perfect for both children and their parents and I loved being swept along by it.
[ONLINE] What Lucie's Reading
A beautiful story of the magic and fragility of the life of a dugong. There are not many dugongs left in the world. In fact, this animal is one of the most endangered on the planet. Dugong Magic brings the plight of this mysterious and wonderful creature into focus, highlighting how dangerous we humans are to it. The story follows the birth and wonder of a dugong calf, how she moves her tail, takes her first breath and learns to feed amongst the seagrass. We then learn how humans have created an environment that threatens its existence. But there is hope. The book doesn't leave the reader feeling that all is lost but instead shows us how we can change our ways so that the magic of dugongs might live on. An engaging story with beautiful illustrations for all ages.
The West Australian
This is a very sensitively written book that provides gorgeous images with a message about ecology, the environment and optimism. Read and learn about the dugong's calf's family close relationship, its habitat, it quests for sweet waters, pollution free, and an ocean that all can utilise. For adults, teachers and carer's there is a handy page of "Dugong Facts" to assist you answering those never ending "why" questions, eg where they live, what does the name mean, how do they communicate? etc A great teaching resource and an environmental call for action.
Reading, Writing and Riesling
Recommended. With the vulnerable dugong only surviving within marine parks around Australia's coast, this timely look at the animal and its habits and vulnerability should shake the sentiments of young readers to help them become more aware of how we have had an impact on the lives of these majestic animals who live as long as we do. The first half of the story shows the birth and early development of a dugong, bonding with its mother, helped to make its first steps within the marine environment, rising to the surface, testing its strengths, finding the right food to eat and how to eat it, learning to hide when predators come along. But it is the human activity that throws them more than anything else. They must avoid the rubbish thrown into the sea, dive down when noisy fast boats skim over the water above, look out for nets that entrap until the dugong calf finds it is alone. Children will be saddened for the baby dugong, left alone in a sea of danger, but be made well aware that it is unsafe because of our misuse of the land in which we live. The last four double pages offer solutions that will delight the readers, upset by the dugong's plight. This will engage the children in real solutions after reading the story preceding it, and all is followed by a page of information about the dugong, aimed at giving the reader the information they need to better understand the plight of the dugong, half of the world's population of which live in Australian waters. Themes: Dugongs, Pollution, Environment, Vulnerable animals, Fishing.
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