Winner of the Reader’s Favorite Five Star Seal and a finalist in Colorado Book Awards for Children’s Literature, The Baby Sea Turtle by S.A. Mahan is a delightful picture book. The text is easy to read, the art is pleasing to the eye, and there are even great messages.
In this short tale of about twenty pages, the rhyming text varies in length to make a fluent text. Some pages consist of simply one long sentence while others contain a few quick sentences. The word choices feel about right for the intended young audience, while also not being too simple. Concrete nouns, active verbs, and descriptive adjectives flow across the pages, providing a rich reading experience. My main complaint is that despite well-crafted rhymes, at times I don’t feel as if the text contains much rhythm.
The plot structure works well too. Readers are immediately made aware that Mama Turtle will not only experience the special moment of birth, but she will also need to protect her eggs from dangers. The angst is not over yet either for, when the baby turtles crawl to the sea, one is left behind. To get home, this turtle now faces a few adventures. How he ends up on a busy street, I’m not sure, but I appreciate how his rescue happens.
Artwork was created by nationally known artist Deborah Mahan, who beautifully brings this nature story to life. A variety of soft green-hued and purple-hued backgrounds create engaging spreads. Expressions of the turtles are endearing and realistic. Many other details fill the landscape too, such as pebbles, starfish, water droplets, tracks, along with the moon at night and the sun by day.
Finally, there are the positive and subtle messages. In focusing on just one turtle family, and in providing through information through the plot structure only about how turtles lay their eggs, Mahan has indirectly created a picture book that should encourage appreciation of nature. Also, in its conclusion, lay other messages such as be kind and family is love.
Anyone who purchases The Baby Sea Turtle will have access to free audio download. Other reviewers have also made the recommendation that it might be advisable to invest the extra money in a sturdy hardcover copy instead of the lightweight paper copy. Whether one borrows or buys, The Baby Sea Turtle is a worthwhile reading experience.
My rating? Bag it: Carry it with you. Make it a top priority to read.
How would you rate this book?