Turtle Walk

Image of Turtle Walk
Release Date: 
October 6, 2020
Greenwillow Books
Reviewed by: 

“The story is simple, with a satisfyingly surprising ending.”

Matt Phelan brings repeated refrains and lovely landscapes to this simple story of a family trip. When the family consists of parent turtles and their two turtle children, we know it won’t be a quick journey. In fact the book repeats over and over again: “Turtle walk. Nice and slow. / Here we go. / Are we there yet? / No.” By the third time this happens, young children will be joining in on the lines, in on the joke that it will be a very long time before the kids get a yes to the perpetual question, “Are we there yet?”

What adds magic is that the turtles, slow as they are, are walking for a year, starting in the spring as we see bunnies and wildflowers turn into summer sunflowers, then crisp fall foliage and pumpkins. At last, it’s winter and the turtles come to a snow-covered hill where “Are we there yet?” is finally answered with a resounding “YES!” The slow turtle walk becomes a fast turtle slide as the turtles use their shells as sleds for wintry turtle fun. The book ends with the turtles snug in their winter home, ready for “Turtle rest. / Nice and long. / Here we. . . ZZZZzzzzzz.”

The story is simple, with a satisfyingly surprising ending. Any little turtle reading this will ask for more turtle walks, over and over again.