cover image Turtle Walk

Turtle Walk

Matt Phelan. Greenwillow, $17.99 (32p) ISBN 978-0-06-293413-0

Turtle kids experience extremely delayed gratification when their parents announce a local adventure in this winning picture book. The gentle joke at the heart of the story is that the destination is a hillside above the meadow where the turtles live; being turtles, though, it takes the family four seasons to arrive there. “Turtle walk. Nice and slow./ Here we go,” announces the narrative refrain. “Are we there yet?/ No.” But Phelan (You Are My Friend) makes the trip more than worthwhile for both his characters and readers: translucent, radiant washes, which look barely dry, chronicle the passage of time and turtles with luscious scenes of flowers and showers, a busy playground and brilliant firefly display, and a ripe orchard and a glowing pumpkin field. Things turn a little treacherous as the family struggles to climb the snowy hill in the last leg, but when the answer to “Are we there yet?” finally turns to “Yes,” and the turtles joyfully toboggan home on their shells, readers will enjoy recognizing the landmarks passed on the way up. It’s every memorable family trip in a nutshell, filled with moments of tedium, thrills, and, best of all, togetherness. Ages 4–8. [em]Agent: Rebecca Sherman, Writers House. (Oct.) [/em]