CM . . .
. Volume XII Number 3 . . . . September 30, 2005
First-time author Stephanie Lisa Tara and Canadian illustrator Lee Edward Födi have teamed up to create a lyrical rendition of a green sea turtle's first glimpse of life. Hatched on a moon-washed beach, the baby turtle finds its way by instinct across the expanse of sand to the sea and a rendezvous with its mother.
Written in simple verse in the first person, the rhythmic text is full of action and sensory detail and loaded with alliteration and onomatopoeia for an enjoyable read-aloud. Only one stanza using the word 'eternity' may puzzle young minds. The refrain, "I'm coming, Mama.....," repeated on each double page spread, is soothing and reassuring of the joyful reunion to come. The atmosphere of a quiet but determined struggle to break free of the egg soon gives way to growing excitement as the turtle mingles with fellow hatchlings and catches his first tempting sensations: the smell of salt air, the sight of the moon's glow, the gentle touch and beckoning sounds of the waves rushing to shore. Once he's free of the land, new motions take over: gulp, spin, float, swim.... The final happy refrain is new and satisfying: “I'm here, Mama - here with you. I know I'd find you, Moon did too.”
Framed by endpapers of soft, limitless, undersea green, Födi's delightful illustrations feature an animated and engaging baby emerging from an egg buried in golden sand. With other tiny turtles, he is shown plowing through the damp sand, sampling the salty sea air and marching unerringly toward the moonlight glimmer, his guide to the ocean. Once afloat, he soon comes face to face with "eyes like mine" in his new watery home. The gold of sand, blue of sky and green of the sea repeated throughout the book bring a sense of harmony. The turtle is the focal point of all the pictures, with few background details added. The illustrator has carefully integrated the turtle's actions with Tara's verse which relies heavily on verbs: roll, slide, tumble......crawl, scoop, shove. Young children will be propelled through the story in the illustrations as well as the text.
This attractive book is an enjoyable way to introduce young listeners to a fascinating cycle in nature.
Gillian Richardson, who lives in BC, is a former teacher-librarian and freelance writer.
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Copyright © the Manitoba Library Association. Reproduction for personal use is permitted only if this copyright notice is maintained. Any other reproduction is prohibited without permission.