A fantastically giant turtle is lonely until others make themselves at home on his shell.
Seeming a bit like a riff on creation stories (though failing to acknowledge any Native American or other sources), Sherry’s story relies on readers’ willingness to suspend disbelief. Echoing the bravado of the protagonist of his debut, I’m the Biggest Thing in the Ocean (2008), it opens, “I’m a giant turtle, and I’m as BIG as an island.” Cheery, accompanying art, rendered in pencil and then inked and painted with watercolors and salts, depicts the giant turtle looming over a deserted island. The poor turtle is lonely until shipwrecked creatures take refuge on his shell. They end up feasting together and building homes; all is well on Turtle Island. But then the settlers become lonely for their friends and family, and they decide to depart to find them. Bereft and once again alone, the giant turtle cannot stop thinking about his new friends. Happily, they soon return with their loved ones and re-establish the Turtle Island settlement—which grows as another giant turtle arrives with a castle atop her shell and three other littler giant turtles nearby.
It’s a sweet, fantastic depiction of community building, but it’s just too bad that it doesn’t acknowledge its debt to old, old stories about the Turtle Island that is North America. (Picture book. 3-6)