"Children on board Captain Harry’s Dolphin Cruiser eagerly watch for bottlenose dolphins swimming alongside the ferry, shooting out of the water, making dolphin circles. Squeals of delight and clapping can be heard right across Dolphin Bay. Tigerfin practises over and over. He floats in the crystal waters, sunning his tummy, dreaming of dolphin circles. Will the children ever cheer for Tigerfin?"


Tigerfin and the ferry children draws out the beauty of individual differences and perseverance, motivating children to do the best they can. Bartlett and Bailey take parents and children on a summery swim of self-assurance where difference is celebrated and dolphins rocket skyward!
This story is a real crowd pleaser and self-esteem booster.

Kimberley O’Brien
Principal Child Psychologist,
The Quirky Kid Clinic

Tigerfin and the ferrychildren is an enchanting book of hope and determination which takes the reader on a magical journey where adversity and difference leads to acceptance – where wishes and dreams come true. It shows how the faith and support of loved ones can help one overcome all obstacles in life, including insecurity and low self-esteem. This author and illustrator duo take us on a wonderful adventure which touches a chord in all of us. An experience not to be missed.

Michael Fraser
Teacher Librarian and
Bookfeast Co-Ordinator

Tigerfin and the ferry children is a unique story that gives attention to one of Australia’s favourite aquatic creatures and encourages children to achieve their full potential, accepting and celebrating who they are. Bartlett and Bailey take the reader through a vivid journey into Dolphin Bay with the bottlenose dolphins that call it home. Being curious and friendly creatures, dolphins are also known to work together, a theme that is explored in this story. With the loving support of his family, Tigerfin discovers his unique ability which is appreciated by all. This story is brought to life with delightful illustrations which make it a pleasure to read.

Belinda Roche, Psychologist 

In this beautiful story, Tigerfin felt he didn’t belong because he wasn’t able to do what other dolphins did naturally. But through his mother’s love, he found his special talent. This is a fantastic book that will teach children a valuable lesson in life – self-esteem. With gorgeous illustrations that complement the well told story, this book is a delight to both boys and girls alike.

Michelle Wootton

I have just finished reading Tigerfin and the ferry children to my children and I wanted to let you know what a truly inspirational story it is. It is wonderful how the uniqueness of Tigerfin is celebrated, something which I strive to do for my children. All children everywhere need to know that they are special just because of who they are. I believe this book is wonderful also because it encourages children to appreciate others' differences and celebrate along with them. Shona's illustrations are amazing and they make you feel like you are underwater amongst the dolphins. Maureen, I hope to read many more of your stories which strive to encourage and uplift children to be the best that they can be. I look forward to reading your next children’s book to my kids so please keep writing!!!

Kristen Street

I love this book


Tigerfin and the ferry children, along with another of Bartlett’s titles Spiggie the story of a puffin, has been listed in the NSW Premier’s Reading Challenge for years 3-4. The imprint page, however, states it is aimed at pre-school and infants children. There are probably children in both age ranges who would enjoy it.
Circles are so much a part of the lives of the bottlenose dolphins who live at Dorsalini Point, but Tigerfin cannot do them at all. What he can do is ROCKETS! High into the sky. Straight up, straight down. Sadly, as is often the case for many children, Tigerfin is still upset that he can’t do what the other dolphins can.
Initially the adult dolphins expect him to keep trying, sending the message that giving up is not the first option. But when Tigerfin tries and fails they do an about face – maybe some things aren’t all that important. Tigerfin is allowed to continue doing what he does best and everyone learns to appreciate his individuality, including the children who watch him from Captain Harry’s ferry.
This is not a traditional picture book where the illustrations don’t simply repeat what the text has said but tell some of the story, or where the text doesn’t tell story elements evident in illustrations. At over 800 words I would consider it an illustrated story book.
Watercolour illustrations vary – some with white space around a smaller framed illustration, others filling the whole page with colour. Those showing dolphins are sweet, giving the characters almost human like qualities and expressions that children will relate to well – especially the ones that show Tigerfin’s feelings.

The book includes a page of scientific information about bottlenose dolphins which older children may find interesting. While the text certainly examines the issues of fitting in, self esteem and being accepted for who you are, classroom practitioners would benefit from teaching notes to assist in making full use of the product. The rhyming verse at the end is likely to appeal to children and reinforces the message that being different can be a good thing.


Reviewed by Anke Seib
Books Buzz, A bi-monthly online magazine © Dianne Bates, Issue 8, April 2009






















Written by Maureen Bartlett
Illustrated by Shona Bailey


Tigerfin and the ferry children is the second in a series of children’s picture books which aims to encourage positive self-worth in young children. The underlying theme in Tigerfin and the ferry children is celebration of uniqueness. Tigerfin is not your average dolphin. Not only does he show signs of not making it when measured against his dolphin peers, he is on the verge of giving up. A surprise turn of events opens the way for acceptance and celebration of Tigerfin’s special ability. Two endorsements appear on the back cover of Tigerfin and the ferry children, one by Kimberley O’Brien, Principal Child Psychologist of Quirky Kid Clinic, and Michael Fraser, Teacher-Librarian and Bookfeast Co-Ordinator.

Tigerfin and the ferry children is well accepted in schools through school author and illustrator visits and creative writing workshops. Both Tigerfin and the ferry children and Spiggie, The story of a puffin have won a place on the NSW Premier’s Reading Challenge List. Both books were showcased at the Premier’s Reception at the Parramatta Theatres last December.
Contact Maureen for creative writing workshops in Sydney primary schools by emailing nevmaurb@optusnet.com.au
Contact Shona Bailey for book illustration workshops in schools on the Mid North Coast by emailing nevmaurb@optusnet.com.au and Maureen will put you in touch with Shona.


The story has its origin in the crystal waterways of Port Stephens NSW. On a Moonshadow Dolphin Watch cruise several winters ago, a small dolphin with unique markings captivated the author with its efforts to entertain as it sped along through the catamaran’s bow wave. Children bent over the side of the craft, balancing with abandon, caught up in the joy of the chase. The small dolphin had an unusual ‘tiger’ marking on its dorsal fin. The brilliance of that July day, the laughter of children mesmerised by the antics of the dolphins and the occasional call of the captain, set the scene for Tigerfin and the ferry children.

The title of the story was easy. ‘Tiger’ led to ‘Tiger-fin’, and to make sure children would know the story was set in the deep blue waters of the sea and not in a jungle, the sub-title ‘and the ferry children’ was added.  Tigerfin and the ferry children stands spine-to-spine with Spiggie, The Story of a Puffin. There’s another reason for adding ‘and the ferry children’. Tigerfin was a story without legs (or fins) without the adoration of the ferry children.

Shona Bailey’s captivating illustrations have brought Tigerfin to life. Living at Boambee, near Coffs Harbour on the Mid North Coast of NSW, Shona is no stranger to bottlenose dolphins. She studied dolphins up close and was able to bring a special glow to her work by detailing the shine of their bodies as they leap out of the water and play. Shona’s illustrations complement the story beautifully and her underwater party scene brings smiles to all readers.





Tigerfin and the ferry children is very reasonably priced at $AU14.95 + postage. Multiple copies may be purchased at a cheaper rate by contacting the author. Copies are available from …





The ferry children … Abbey, Zachary, Elise, Luke, James, Jarrod, Rylan and Cayleigh
(Joel appears with Jarrod in a later photograph)


James describing the ferry children illustrations at William Carey Christian School
Shay and Teagan, sisters at Woongarrah Public School, Central Coast NSW


Haberfield Public School students with Maureen, Caroline Delaney (Teacher), and Michael Fraser (Librarian)
Jarrod and Joel, ferry children


Shona, Abbey and Maureen with some of Shona’s original illustrations at Tyndale Christian School


Parramatta Sun Article - Wednesday 13th May 2009


Shona and "Zip" at Coffs Harbour




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