cover image Mossy


Jan Brett. Putnam, $17.99 (32p) ISBN 978-0-399-25782-7

Brett (Home for Christmas) again lavishes attention on the delights and eccentricities of the natural world in this quiet, idiosyncratic addition to her canon of meticulously rendered picture books. Set in the Edwardian era, the story centers on Mossy, a turtle who lives in a pond-side habitat and has moss, ferns, and wildflowers growing from her carapace. Just after Mossy meets and becomes enamored of a turtle named Scoot, a museum curator, Dr. Carolina, brings Mossy indoors to live in a “viewing pavilion with plants, a reflecting pool and everything they thought a turtle would need.” Though the turtle is carefully tended to and admired by museum visitors, Mossy misses her outdoor home and Scoot. In a contrived solution, two artists (improbably named Flora and Fauna) paint a portrait of Mossy to immortalize her in the museum before Dr. Carolina and her niece return her to the wild. Filled with beetles, shells, feathers, and other natural phenomena, Brett’s signature intricate borders frame gorgeous gouache and watercolor spreads that include handsome period details and some visual surprises. An odd but lovely story. Ages 3–5. (Sept.)