Wednesday, September 26, 2007

Travel the World: United States: Emma's Turtle

In today's edition of Travel the World, I am presenting an American publication, Emma's Turtle by Eve Bunting. Eve Bunting is a prolific author with many 2007 publications. This one happens to be published by Boyds Mills Press. Why the United States? After all, it isn't traveling very far to stay in your own country...but why not? That is what Emma's Turtle is ALL about: traveling the world without leaving your backyard.

Emma has a turtle. A pet turtle. She keeps him in a pen in the backyard. "She sits in her swing and reads to me of the world and places that are far, far away. She shows me pictures of elephants in Africa and kangaroos in Australia. There are tigers in India and panda bears in China. It is all quite amazing. My life is good. But I often dream of the world that is far, far away."

One day Emma's turtle decides to stop dreaming and go. He tunnels under the pen and begins his quest to travel the globe. Basing his wherabouts on the descriptions Emma has read him, he knows he's been to Africa, Australia, and India. "I am walking in this place I've never walked before. My legs are short and the grass is long. I think I must be in the jungle." As he's merrily going on his way--his way to China--he hears a familiar voice calling for him. It's Emma. Soon he's safe at home in his pen eating strawberries...but he'll never forget his global adventure...and he might just go exploring again one day.

Emma's Turtle is all about imagination and perspective. Why perspective? It shows you the "world" through different eyes. What would it be like to be a turtle? To travel the familiar landscapes of your own backyard as a turtle? Different height. Different pace. Different perspective. You could easily start imagining what it would be like to see the world through the eyes of any animal--ants, bees, cats, etc. The best books offer readers a chance to see the world--some aspect of life--through a different perspective, a new perspective. What does it feel like to be this, to do that. Emma's Turtle does just that. Why imagination? There is a wonder in childhood that allows you to become anything, to do anything. Your backyard can transform into anywhere in the world you want it to be. With imagination you really can travel anywhere on and off the globe. Reading can be key to inspiring this kind of imaginative travel. Reading books can take you to India, China, Australia, Africa, or even Narnia. The book shows that traveling, that having adventures is just a state of mind.

I loved Emma's Turtle. I love the story. I love the illustrations. I love the message.


Debi 10:54 AM  

Thanks for the wonderful review, Becky! I definitely want to find this one to read to my littlest guy.

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I am interested in reviewing books and audio books. This blog focuses on books written for middle grade on up (essentially 10 to a 110). I review middle grade fiction and young adult fiction (aka tween and teen).

I also review adult books.

I read in a variety of genres including realistic fiction, historical fiction, mystery, romance, science fiction, fantasy, literary fiction, and chick lit. (I've read one western to date.)

I read a few poetry books, a few short story collections, a few graphic novels, a few nonfiction books.

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I am more interested in strong characters, well-written, fleshed-out, human characters. Plot is secondary to me in a way. I have to care about the characters in order to care about the plot. That being said, compelling storytelling is something that I love. I love to become absorbed in what I'm reading.

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