An enchanting picture book about a young girl who finds strength in helping animals.
Hunter (The Lighthouse Santa, 2011, etc.) introduces readers to Mimi, a girl who speaks only to echo what others say, and her loving, persistent mother, who’s determined to find a way to communicate with her. Mimi loves the beach, but she’s more interested in running across the dunes than she is in searching for seashells with her mother. When Mimi trips and falls next to the water, she finds a sea turtle, stunned by the cold, staring back at her, and she feels an immediate connection with the wounded creature—even though everyone believes that the motionless turtle is dead. It takes a friendly member of the Audubon Society to convince the adults in Mimi’s life that her turtle stands a chance of survival, and he takes it to a rescue center. When Mimi goes to visit the turtle, which the scientists call Ridley 3, it becomes apparent that the bond they share may change both their lives. Mimi quickly proves that the adults were wrong to write Ridley 3 off and that she, too, may have a brighter future than anyone imagined. This charming picture book, written with perceptiveness and candor, sets up teachable moments that feel natural and organic. For example, readers are introduced to Mimi long before her autism is mentioned, and the matter-of-fact, compassionate depiction of Mimi’s special needs is both child friendly and honest. The author’s gentle voice rings just as clearly in her explanation of endangered sea turtles, which is neither sugarcoated nor too scary for elementary schoolers. Children will likely empathize with Mimi’s determination to help Ridley 3, and this beautifully written story may help inspire a new generation of open-minded activists.
A heartwarming children’s story about seeing the value in every living thing.