The third Old Turtle story is a companion to the previous two (Old Turtle, illustrated by Cheng-Khee Chee, 1992, and Old Turtle and the Broken Truth, illustrated by Jon J Muth, 2003) and focuses on defining the purpose of life.
Seeking answers to heavy questions, a multiracial chosen few set out with the Old Woman to find Old Turtle. Each one “carries alone the weight of his or her question,” such as “Why are we here?” and “Can you tell us about play?” One double-page spread encompasses their journey. Once they reach Old Turtle, her answers are lengthy, spiritual, and lyrical. “We live that there might be more of life in the world. More live-li-ness. More beauty, more generosity, more variety, more of the gift of life itself.” Spanning pages and paragraphs, answers delve into the meanings of happiness, family, play, balance, evil, and, particularly, death, when “we merely return to the source of our life.” The illustrations, created with graphite pencil and scanned watercolors, are appropriately ethereal and breathe life into the messages, expressing a sense of well-being and creating a comforting, Zen-like feeling. Collectively, this trio of books offers a spiritual fable with a universal message. This publication is timed to commemorate the 25th anniversary of Old Turtle.
Adults searching to explain the mysteries of life to patient children will find these three a reverent answer. (Picture book. 5-8)