cover image Turtle and Tortoise Are Not Friends

Turtle and Tortoise Are Not Friends

Mike Reiss, illus. by Ashley Spires. HarperCollins, $17.99 (32p) ISBN 978-0-06-074031-3

When Turtle and Tortoise hatch in the same city zoo habitat, they seem destined to be besties for a good long time—as the zookeeper points out, “they can live to be one hundred years old!” But Tortoise quickly and haughtily declares that they are too different to be friends (“It just wouldn’t make sense”). Turtle wimpishly cedes the point, and they hunker down on either side of a small pond as the years pile up. Reiss (How Murray Saved Christmas) dutifully notes the lengthy passages of time to comic effect (“Over the next fourteen years, the turtle and the tortoise had many interesting adventures. But each refused to tell the other about them”). The two are so stubborn and slow-moving that it takes an entire human generation, plus the time it takes to “read the entire Oxford English Dictionary, A to Z, twenty-three times,” to realize they can become friends. Digital vignettes by Spires (The Most Magnificent Thing) have a comedic pacing that matches the text’s mix of exaggeration and understatement. As the cityscape modernizes behind the zoo enclosure’s drama, it becomes clear that some things, from buildings to friendships, just take time. Ages 4–8. [em](July) [/em]