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TURTLE, TURTLE, WATCH OUT! by April Pulley Sayre


by April Pulley Sayre & illustrated by Lee Christiansen

Age Range: 6 - 8

Pub Date: Sept. 1st, 2000
ISBN: 0-531-30285-7
Publisher: Orchard

Considering the dangers a sea turtle faces, its life would be a “short story, or no story at all” without helping hands, according to this compelling narrative. Here that help begins before a little loggerhead even gets off the beach, as a child chases away marauding raccoons, places a wire cage over the buried clutch of turtle eggs, and later turns off a house light to prevent the new hatchling from crawling inland. The hazards don’t end there, as the young turtle still faces not only natural predators, but also entangling fish nets and floating plastic bags that look like edible jellyfish. With each danger comes the refrain, “Turtle, Turtle Watch Out!,” inviting listeners to take part in the story. Using a palette dominated by deep blues and greens, Christiansen creates spread-filling, dimly lit ocean scenes, viewing the turtle (generally head on) as she plugs along, feeding, growing, narrowly escaping one risk after another, returning at last to the beach where she hatched to lay eggs of her own. Sea turtles are a popular picture book topic, but the emphasis on protective measures and practices gives this an unusual slant. The afterword includes a conservation organization’s address and information about how ordinary citizens are helping sea turtles survive. (Picture book. 6-8)