cover image Turtle Summer: A Journal for My Daughter

Turtle Summer: A Journal for My Daughter

Mary Alice Monroe. Sylvan Dell Publishing, $8.95 (32pp) ISBN 978-0-9777423-7-0

Novelist Monroe (The Beach House) ventures into the children's book arena with this companion to her upcoming title for adults, Swimming Lessons (itself a sequel to The Beach House). A mother and her daughter in that story spend a summer along the Southeast coast, helping to ensure the survival of as many baby loggerhead sea turtles as possible. This book takes the form of a journal the mother assembles for her daughter, to record the memories of their turtle-tending summer. Its scrapbook-like pages chronicle the pair's experiences looking for turtle tracks, marking turtle egg nests and waiting for the hatchlings to emerge. Numerous photos of baby turtles and other coastal wildlife and flora appear against backgrounds of mottled, sandy-hued paper, often peppered with sepia-tone sketches (e.g., photos of a mother turtle laying her eggs are mounted on drawings of beach grass). The first-person narration is by turns informative and lyrical. ""Nights by the ocean are breathtakingly black and beautiful. Sometimes we wonder what the turtles are doing under the sand.... Are they awake? Are they sleeping? Are they dreaming?"" The conversational presentation of turtle facts should make for interesting reading, even if the connection to Monroe's adult work remains a bit vague. Some readers may wonder just who the woman and girl in the photographs actually are, but all nature lovers should appreciate the generous smattering of facts and clear photos here. Ages 5-9.