cover image Turtle Tug to the Rescue

Turtle Tug to the Rescue

Michael Slack. Holt/Ottaviano, $16.99 (40p) ISBN 978-1-62779-194-6

Slack’s animal-vehicle heroes have vigilantly patrolled from the air (Elecopter) and on land (Monkey Truck). Now, the author-illustrator takes to the seas with a turtle that has a tugboat’s hull and wheelhouse for a shell, and a jaunty blue smokestack on top like a birthday cake candle. The waters are full of human-generated snares for Tug’s friends (fishing lines, plastic six-pack rings), and when a “tempestuous storm” hits, he’s the first—and only—responder. Slack’s rhymes play into the tension (“He weathers rough waves,/ his bearings are set,/ towing his cargo to/ a harbored inlet”), and the pictures may be the best in the series, with imaginative perspectives (several images show readers what’s happening above and below the water line) and texturing that feels like a cross between painting and letterpress. The stormy seas, which occupy most of the book, are a tumult of purples and blues, with evocative splatters of white for waves and foam. Turtle Tug is an unflashy but steady hero, and his steely determination to save the day is admirable and inspiring. Ages 2–5. Agent: Lori Nowicki, Painted Words. (Mar.)