cover image The Town of Turtle

The Town of Turtle

Michelle Cuevas, illus. by Cátia Chien. Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, $17.99 (40p) ISBN 978-0-544-74982-5

Turtle lives on his own planet in the middle of a lonely galaxy. With only his shadow to talk to, he decides “to make some renovations to his shell.” Chien’s dreamlike mixed-media images move from grays to bright colors as Turtle imagines a village of houses that she draws with wobbly splashes of lime, lavender, and fuchsia. Back in the waking world, Turtle orders paint, builds a deck, and installs a fireplace, garden, and pond atop his shell, and soon there’s a library and ice rink, too. They’re all rendered in expressionist spreads, drawn not for laughs but with a sense of wonder. Turtle’s tower of creations teeters precariously above his planet, and soon everybody wants to visit. A giraffe, a whale in a mobile aquarium, a painter, a sailor, and others move in, and an exuberant vertical gatefold celebrates the new community, where all seems possible and every living thing is welcome. Ages 4–7. Author’s agent: Emily van Beek, Folio Literary Management. Illustrator’s agent: Steven Malk, Writers House. (Apr.)