A Turtle’s Magical Adventure
Tad asks other slow animals if they also mind being slow. Each one gives an answer that helps Tad feel better, but, still he wants to be fast.
He happens upon a snake who tells him there is a wizard that can make him fast. He goes on an adventure into The Magical Timberwood Forest to meet the wizard and hopefully get his wish fulfilled.
He encounters delightful, magical creatures along the way but also meets with danger and choices. Will Tad get his wish or will the wizard turn him into turtle soup?
The little turtle Tad, depressed by being so slow, decides to follow advice from a snake and get rid off his shell which slows him down, by asking a wizard for help. His adventures and conversations with other animals and creatures are truly charming, and carry within them an old-fashioned sound of unrushed thought, pure curiosity and simple life’s wisdom. The message is positive overall, as it leads the main character, and hopefully the reader or listener (as this is a story to be read to little ones) to the same conclusion – that we are each unique and need to accept ourselves with all our abilities and shortcomings. Tad’s friend the gnome teaches him this very powerful lesson, which she herself has learned through hardship and mistakes, but it hasn’t made her bitter, selfish or depressed. If you read the story to a very sensitive child, a little warning spoiler- the final chapters contain slightly more scary scenes, in which Tad will find himself in life-threatening situations but come through, so just prepare yourself to explain and discuss. The scenes emphasize the message and also show the importance of true friendship.
Your eye will be caught immediately by a most charming cover introducing you to the main character. Within the book itself though, each chapter is decorated with a single image. It is not that the story itself requires images – every child has enough imagination to create worlds of their own, it’s just that the cover is so lovely that you wish for the theme to follow throughout the book.
The author’s style has a lovely pace and language; she chooses character names carefully, uses lots of details from the nature which set the scene for children and enhance the feeling of travelling and adventure, and wisely explains how each creature learns to accept and even enjoy their faults and virtues – the snail always has a home, the duck can swim more easily, the worm enjoys the cool mud, etc. The vocabulary is not too simplistic and contains words you might need to explain to a child, but isn’t that what reading is for – to learn and communicate? The dialogue is lovely and rich, and can be used for role-play. And, as someone said, if children can say carcharodontosaurus, then don’t be afraid to use big words with them.
The story therefore lends itself to reading, story-telling, drama and teaching, and, being a teacher myself, I can already hear myself telling the story to my students aged 4-10, using a slightly different approach with different age groups, and I cannot wait to hear their questions, suggestions and conclusions.
This is a book I will gladly recommend to all my friends who are parents and/or teachers, and happily read to my own child as well. This review was written for the Readers Review Room, and the highest rank in that review site is the gold bookworm. I am happy to say this is a goldie!