Yoshi and the Ocean: A Sea Turtle’s Incredible Journey Home

HarperCollins/Greenwillow. May 2022. 64p. Tr $18.99. ISBN 9780063060982.
Gr 2-4–Yoshi is a young, injured sea turtle found by Japanese fishermen more than twenty years ago. They name her Yoshitaro, care for her, and then transfer her to an aquarium in Cape Town. She is the first turtle to live at the aquarium, and the staff learn to care for her, help her heal, feed her, and watch her grow. She lives for 20 years in the aquarium, until the staff recognizes her need to be in the ocean. Readers follow Yoshi as she prepares for her return. Scientists attach a tracker to Yoshi and are able to follow her ocean travels. Much of Yoshi’s ocean life is imagined, but Moore uses scientific knowledge to describe Yoshi’s travels from Cape Town to the Indian Ocean and beyond, ultimately ending on the western coast of Australia. While Yoshi’s life and journey are amazing, what makes this title extraordinary is the back matter. Maps, fact boxes, insets, and other text features detail and describe Yoshi’s journey. The reader learns about ocean currents, ocean levels, and types of food and fish that Yoshi encountered before her tracker stopped working when she reached Australia in 2020. One spread shows the anatomy of a sea turtle, with detailed information including its life cycle, and another shows details about the ocean floor, ocean animals, currents, and levels. All this detail includes realistic illustrations that truly bring Yoshi to life using graphite, watercolor, drawing inks, conté crayon, and colored pencils.
VERDICT Yoshi’s incredible story, the collection of scientific information, and engaging illustrations will capture readers, encouraging inquiry and exploration through a sea turtle’s eyes.

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