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by Kelly Easton

Pub Date: Sept. 1st, 2002
ISBN: 0-7636-1928-0
Publisher: Candlewick

In a winningly oddball sequel to Trouble at Betts Pets (2002), a turtle with a map painted on its back holds the key to a series of mysterious encounters and break-ins at a pet store in a downtrodden neighborhood. Young Aaron Betts takes in a sick turtle left on his doorstep, and thinks little of it until a homing pigeon delivers a semi-literate, but threatening note. Shortly thereafter, Aaron and his mouthy friend Sharon are kidnapped by three ex-cons desperate to reclaim the turtle, as the map on its back leads to a five-million-dollar stash. Aaron has to admit that he had come home from school one day to find that the turtle had passed on, and been given a “burial at sea” by his mother—fortunately, however, being a budding artist, he had drawn a detailed picture of the creature. It’s all handled with a light touch; the crooks are so incompetent that they pose a danger only to themselves. Staffed with likable, quirky characters and driven by issues both serious and not-so, this will leave young readers hoping for more visits to Aaron’s animal-friendly world. (Fiction. 10-12)