- Associated Press - Friday, August 12, 2016

ROYAL OAK, Mich. (AP) - A new children’s book immortalizes Wanda and Winky, former Detroit Zoo elephants that moved to California to live out their final years.

Retired Walled Lake school district teacher and library media specialist Linda McLean, who lives in Commerce Township, and illustrator Susan VanDeventer Warner of Walled Lake collaborated on the book titled “Wanda and Winky,” the Detroit Free Press reports (https://on.freep.com/2bl9Ngm ).

The aging elephants were moved in 2005 from the Detroit Zoo in Royal Oak to the Performing Animal Welfare Society sanctuary in northern California. They had health problems, including arthritis, that were aggravated by Michigan’s climate and the limitations of their zoo accommodations.

Wanda was euthanized in 2015 because of arthritis and foot problems. Winky died in 2008.

The 38-page book contains a blend of poetry and prose, McLean said. For younger readers, the book has “elephant talk, every other page,” McLean said. Older ones will be able to learn from the “elephant facts” section at the back of the book, the author said.

This is McLean’s second self-published book for children. Her first, published in 2007, was titled “The Heidelberg Project: A Street of Dreams” and introduced young readers to the well-known outdoor art installation created in Detroit by artist Tyree Guyton.


Information from: Detroit Free Press, https://www.freep.com

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