Age Range: 8 - 12
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 After witnessing the nocturnal egg-laying of a leatherback turtle, sisters Philomena, Amelia, and Esther vow to protect the eggs and hatchlings from their Caribbean island's many predators, animal and human. These include Tall Boy, a man who hungers for a change from the islanders' usual diet of salt fish, and Old Man Henderson, who appears to be haunted by his dead wife. Powell writes convincingly of the girls' devotion to the eggs, the enlistment of Old Man Henderson, and their discovery that the customs official turns his back on illegal poaching of shells. This last calls into question facts about leatherbacks introduced in the narrative; spying a shell in the hands of Tall Boy, the girls create a sign with a drawing of a leatherback and the motto ``Save Our Shells,'' when that species has no visible shell (hence its name). Still, despite this blurring of facts, Powell's first book succeeds admirably in evoking the timeless beauty of the island, its exotic ways, and the modern problems it confronts. The sisters' interrelationships are merely sketched; for this black family and its neighbors, it's the lyrical connection with the environment that is of importance here. (Fiction. 8-12)

Pub Date: Oct. 1st, 1992
ISBN: 0-670-84294-X
Page count: 128pp
Publisher: Viking
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 15th, 1992