cover image Turtle Time

Turtle Time

Sandol Stoddard. Houghton Mifflin Harcourt (HMH), $13.95 (32pp) ISBN 978-0-395-56754-8

The creators of Bedtime for Bear and Bedtime Mouse offer up another winning sleepy-time tale. Says the round-faced, likable girl who recites this book's rhyming text, ""turtle time"" is ""a little song, a little rhyme"" she thinks of when she climbs into bed. She tells how she once found a newly hatched turtle, which she names Fred and brings home, assuring it that she will supply all that she imagines a turtle might need, including a house fashioned from a shoe box, a raincoat for inclement weather and a sled for winter fun. But when Fred disappears into his shell, the youngster is perplexed. Finally her pet explains: ""I may be small, but I am free!/ Turtle time is very slow./ It waits until it wants to go./ It has no clocks or rules or maps./ It stops for a lot of turtle naps."" A graceful intertwining of nonsense and truth, Stoddard's gentle narrative gives kids much to chuckle at as well as food for thought. The story's humor is deftly mined by Munsinger, whose winsome, inventively detailed art presents such images as Fred looking miserable in a yellow rain slicker, rigidly reclining on a matchbox bed and driving recklessly in a toy car. Ages 4-8. (Mar.)