A careless turtle must use his wits to avoid being eaten in this picture-book fable by Rivette (Popcorn Memories, 2014) and debut illustrator Moegelvang.
Tucker Turtle decides to take off his shell for a swim. The colored-pencil illustrations show the carefree turtle doing the backstroke and blowing a geyser of water from his mouth. Afterward, Tucker decides to sun himself under a tree and promptly falls asleep. Freddie Fox shows up and sees the turtle as a potential meal. Luckily, his shadow falls across Tucker, waking the turtle and giving him just enough time to come up with an outrageous lie: He’d taste better, he says, if he was wearing his flavorful, nutritious magic shell. After Tucker puts it back on, Freddie tries to eat him, without success. Eventually, the disgruntled fox lets Tucker go, and the turtle resolves never to take off his carapace again. The story’s vocabulary is simple and approachable, and the light tone makes sure that children will never be worried about Tucker’s fate. They’ll be amused by watching him scramble to fool the fox, especially if they’re already familiar with traditional trickster tales. Moegelvang’s Disney-like character design is pleasing, but the images’ poor production quality offers smudged-looking resolution.
Despite uneven illustrations, this is likely to be a storytime or bedtime hit.