cover image Turtle and Me

Turtle and Me

Robie H. Harris, illus. by Tor Freeman. Bonnier/Little Bee, $16.99 (40p) ISBN 978-1- 4998-0046-3

A stuffed turtle has been part of a boy’s life since he was in utero—the title page shows his expectant parents opening up the gift in anticipation of the baby’s arrival. And Turtle proves to be an enduring sidekick, offering comfort when the boy feels “lonely and sad” and taking in stride the slings, arrows, and stains of childhood (which include spaghetti and throw-up) because, as the owner notes, “when bad things happen, I always make sure that Turtle gets sewn up, washed up, fixed up—and is okay again.” But one day, in the midst of a fight with a friend, Turtle is badly—maybe irreparably—ripped, and the boy’s friend declares that Turtle is a “baby thing.” Is she right? Harris and Freeman take an almost reportorial approach; the language is direct, and the images follow suit, most of them composed on a single plane with minimal background. And yet there is nothing prosaic in these pages—it’s a book of poetic, plainspoken beauty, resonant with deeply felt emotions about attachment, loyalty, and growing up. Ages 4–8. (Apr.)