Two intrepid librarians

Two intrepid librarians review the best nonfiction books for children

Monday, November 27, 2023

The Book of Turtles by Sy Montgomery & Matt Patterson

The Book of Turtles
Sy Montgomery & Matt Patterson
Clarion Books. An Imprint of HarperCollins Publishers.

“Sometime around 240 million years ago — about the time of the first dinosaurs, and 9 million years before the first crocodile — the shell invented the turtle.”

Award-winner science writer, Montgomery, mastery at engaging readers is on display here. Her mixing scientific facts with portraits of some of the world’s most famous turtles. Readers also learn “Extreme Turtle” facts: Which turtle is the largest, smallest, fastest, flattest, longest necks, most colorful, stinkiest and longest life span. 

Did you know turtles have many talents? Myrtle, a 90-year-old wood turtle learned how to navigate a maze just as quickly as laboratory rats. A surprising fact is that Eastern box turtles can scale a chain-link fence. 

Paired with the narrative are Matt Patterson’s photo-like illustrations. Rendered in acrylic paint, the name of each turtle is included in italics.

Like all wildlife, turtles are in sharp decline. Montgomery suggests ways we can help turtles survive. Best tip: if you see a turtle in the road, carefully pick it up and move it out of harms way.

To learn more about this charming book, watch Sy and Matt in this video

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