A unique little turtle learns about love and forgiveness in Isemer’s debut allegorical children’s tale.
Jerry is different from the other turtles, who tease him about the yellow specks on his shell, which, they say, might make a predator pick him first. Jerry spends most of his time swimming alone at the bottom of the lake, but thankfully, his sweet personality earns him some very nice friends. One of them, a young girl named Amanda, likes to visit the lake with her mom and always looks for Jerry when she visits. But one day, Amanda carelessly throws a carrot away and accidentally puts Jerry in danger from a troublemaking raccoon. Peet, a pelican, flies to the rescue, but not before Jerry is badly hurt by the raccoon’s claws. Jerry and Peet then embark on a journey to find the only one who can heal Jerry. Finally, Jerry meets Larry, a lion, and is overcome by his kindness and wisdom; the lion heals the turtle’s wounds and then reads an ancient text that changes Jerry’s life forever. It contains an explicitly Christian message, delivering the Gospel in a nutshell. Although this method of delivery stalls the story and feels a little forced, parents who wish to expose their children to Scripture will be pleased. Despite the obvious difficulty of balancing religious messages with a simple children’s story, the effect is satisfying due to the story’s and characters’ sweetness. Overall, though, the characters are appealing, aside from Amanda’s outburst when she throws away the carrot, and they acquire important values. Jerry, in particular, embraces the message of love in a heartwarming way. However, the explanation of the raccoon having “gotten off the good track” seems a little off-topic. The color illustrations are lighthearted and contribute to the positive tone.
A sometimes-overreaching but well-meaning story with a cute main character that will delight young Christian readers.