Written by Melissa Stewart
Illustrated by Higgins Bond
Beautifully painted and poetic, this picture book is part of “A Place For” series that follows different animals. In this case, Stewart and Bond focus on the eleven different species of turtles and they make the book work on several levels. It can be a read aloud for children who haven’t yet reached the fourth grade reading level, and it can be a resource for older children researching environmental issues.
At the top of each spread Stewart writes about a threat turtles are facing. Some turtles, for example, cannot make nests because invasive plants change their habitat. The facing page has the solution: “When people find ways to control new plants, turtles can live and grow.” The solution is very important because otherwise this becomes another depressing problem book. With the solution, the book empowers the readers.
If this were all Stewart wrote, it would be a short, albeit, pretty book. And for a kindergarten class, the top section might be all one reads — students would soon join in on the refrain: “turtles can live and grow.” But each spread also has a short sidebar highlighting specific species from different parts of the continental United States. Stewart explains how the Western Pond Turtle was near extinction, but with managed care, is coming back. She also tells about loggerheads, who died in fishing nets, but are doing better since Congress required fishing nets to have a turtle excluder device.
This type of specific information will work well for early-elementary reports. More specifics cover the front and back flyleaves, where each turtle’s habitat is shown in a colorful map. With that kind of information, parents and teachers could devise reading activities, asking, for example, which turtle lives close to us? The book closes with “Turtle Tidbits,” showing the bone and shell structure, as well as a bibliography and list of more resources.
Visit Melissa Stewart’s website: www.melissa-stewart.com
Visit Higgins Bond’s website: www.higginsbond.com
For another story of rescuing turtles look at the Smithsonian:
- Title: A Place for Turtles
- Author: Melissa Stewart
- Illustrator: Higgins Bond
- Publisher: Peachtree Publishers
- Reviewer: Amy S. Hansen
- Hardcover: 32 pages
- ISBN: 978-1-56145-693-2
- Genre: nonfiction: science, nature