The Box Turtle

Dial. Feb. 2020. 40p. Tr $17.99. ISBN 9780735230507.
PreS-Gr 2–With the crack of his egg on the title page, Terrance the turtle hatches, but a turn of the page verifies that he’s missing something important—a shell. His parents assure him he is “so much more than just a shell,” and give him a substitute; Terrance is a now indeed a true “box” turtle. However, as Terrance grows, other box turtles pronounce his new box shell “weird,” and now Terrance can only see it as “boring” or “bizarre,” so the search begins for a better shell. Full-page art with the cartoon faces of Terrance and his faithful hermit crab pal highlight the affection between friends, while text separated by boxed illustrations indicates the search from one choice to the next. “Shell” discards are found—a mailbox, a hatbox, a Jack-in-the-box, a boom box, a lunch box, and even a kitty’s litter box—but none match the little turtle’s expectations. While time passes and the background light darkens with dawn silhouettes and rainy days, Terrance finds true friendship as he follows a path through the town to a shell just right for him.
VERDICT This suggested general purchase supports social-emotional learning with confidence building through awareness of the character’s uniqueness and ability to think “out of the box.”

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