Thursday, June 04, 2020

Out of the Box? The Box Turtle by Vanessa Roeder

When the little box turtle hatched, his parents noticed something missing.

Terrance has no shell!

His parents try to assure him that he's more than a carapace, and little Terrance adopts his friend Hermit Crab's technique, finding a stout cardboard box that's a perfect fit. It provides coverage for storms and a refuge from prying eyes. But the other little box turtles diss his pseudo-shell.
"Your shell is weird!"

So Terrance ditches his box (to which a raccoon has been attracted), and takes off in search of a better box for his booty.

A discarded mailbox is strong and features a rakish red flag, but the postman insists on delivering mail to it. Terrance tries a hatbox, a music box (POP goes the turtle!), a boombox (LOUD!), and a lunchbox, a flower box, and disastrously for Terrance and a cat using the facilities, a litter box. (STINKY!)

Terrance gives up!
Then Hermit crab showed what it meant to be a friend.

His friend Hermit Crab offers his own little shell to go bare-bottomed himself, but Terrance declines the offer, deciding to go back to his old brown box. But it seems that Raccoon has taken it to the recycling center, and it's looking a bit worse for wear.

But with a little help from his friends, Terrance patches it up and paints it in bright stripes. The other turtles pronounce it weird, BUT....

... with his buddies also wearing snazzy boxes, there's a happy ENDING to this story, in Vanessa Roeder's insightful story of overcoming physical differences, The Box Turtle (Dial Books, 2020). Roeder's cute and comic illustrations tell the story of her endearing hero and his ingenious adaptations, and his empathetic friends. Young readers will also empathize with Roeder's Terrance while giggling at the visual humor of the downside of mailboxes, music boxes, and litter boxes as substitute turtle shells. Booklist says,"Roeder renders an adorable, rosy-cheeked (all four cheeks, when he’s going about shell-free)... A sweet, affirming message brings things together in the end."

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