2018-01-01 / Community

Local author’s dolphin and manatee books celebrate sea life

By Cindy Dugan

Author Rosalie Tagg Masella with Dingle Dee Author Rosalie Tagg Masella with Dingle Dee Author Rosalie Tagg Masella knows quite a bit about dolphins and manatees, the main characters in her two enchanting children’s books, “Adventures of Dingle Dee & Lingle Dee,” and “I Am A Manatee. Yes I Am.” Masella has a lifelong love of the ocean and sea creatures, and often can be seen at sunset watching pods of dolphins cruise the Gulf of Mexico.

The author swam with her bottlenose dolphin friends last year in Curacao, describing them as “happy, friendly, inquisitive creatures.” She volunteered in the education department of the New England Aquarium in Boston for 15 years, where she learned the habits and behaviors of sea creatures. Masella lives in Bonita Springs and Hingham, Mass.

“Adventures of Dingle Dee and Lingle Dee,” published in 2009, tells the tale of two bottlenose dolphin cousins out for a swim with their family. “I Am A Manatee. Yes I Am,” published in 2014, describes the habits and lifestyle of this placid, peaceful creature. Young readers experience the undersea world through the eyes of the dolphins and manatees as they explore the wonders of the ocean. The stories encourage children to understand and appreciate these creatures.

Readers of all ages will find the books captivating and entertaining, as well as educational. Masella introduces readers to terminology such as pods, blowhole, ancestor, mammal, herbivore, mangrove, migrate and graze. The books also teach important ecological lessons and steps that human beings can take to preserve the ocean and co-exist with sea creatures.

Illustrator Kimerlee Alemian is an award-winning artist, graphic designer “and a friend,” added Masella. “I asked her, ‘Do you like fish?’” Alemian’s exquisite watercolor illustrations capture the essence of these undersea creatures – the quiet stillness and serenity of the manatee as well as the swift, graceful, playful movement of the dolphin. “She took joy in painting them,” said Masella.

Masella emphasizes that the illustrations are authentic and accurate. In fact, many of them, including depictions of a school of barracuda, sea turtle and angelfish, were created from undersea photographs taken by her sons Rob and Jamie and daughter-inlaw Jessica while scuba diving. Even the bubbles rising from their scuba gear were authentically captured by Alemian in her illustrations.

Masella’s books are dedicated to her four grandchildren, Alexandra, Catherine, Adelaide and James. She encourages parents and grandparents to share the books with their little ones. “And, they can be displayed on coffee tables for visitors to enjoy, too,” she said.

The two hard-covered books are available locally at several places, including Doug’s Seafood and Golisano Children’s Museum, or through Masella’s website, rosalietaggmasella.com

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