Where Should Turtle Be?

SoCal City Kids - July 2012

We received a delightful book from our friends at Arbordale Publishing called “Where Should Turtle Be?” and found this story fun and educational. Little Turtle hatches from his egg and is out in the big and beautiful world but he is lost! He isn’t sure where he belongs and he has to find his place. He ventures out and asks other animals such as the Bear where he belongs. It’s wonderful to read the story and see that Little Turtle finds that his home is in the sea. Great for ages 4-8. My son is 8 and he enjoyed the book and thinks that other boys and girls ages 3 and up will like the story.

Charleston Post and Courier - October 12, 2009

'Where Should Turtle Be' by Susan Ring is a picture book that explores where an animal belongs. A sea turtle hatches on the beach. Instead of heading for the ocean, he's distracted by artificial lights and accidentally heads in the wrong direction. He tries being a box turtle in the woods. He tries being a painted turtle in the pond. He tries being a diamondback terrapin in the salt marsh. He isn't happy until he reaches the sea.

With beautiful illustrations by Laurie Allen Klein and simple rhyming text, children will learn a whole lot about turtles and their habitats. They can learn more with the 'For Creative Minds' activities in the back of the book and online activities at Arbordale books are also available in 'ebook' format. This is an exciting new concept that you can explore on the Web site. - June 6, 2009

Pros: comparisons of four turtles, facts, story, adaptations, vocabulary development, charm, repetitive rhyme, illustrations

Cons: none

The Bottom Line: Young readers will cheer as Little Turtle tries to locate his home; teachers will love how this teaches adaptations and makes comparisons. I loved the repetitive rhyme and illustrations.

Breaking out of the shell Little Turtle instinctively followed the lights in the sky; they would lead him to his wet world in the ocean.  The only problem, the lights were cars, houses, and outdoor lamp posts, but how was this newly hatched sea turtle to know.  He couldn’t find his home. 

Every once in a while a children’s book really catches my attention on multiple levels. Susan Ring’s Where Should Turtle Be? qualifies because it’s charming, because of the catchy repetitive rhyme and because of the introduction to turtles.  Little Turtle is a sea turtle on the wrong road to finding his home.   Each potential home just doesn’t work for his body – he’s adapted for a different habitat. 

He encounters a helpful bear who suggests Little Turtle might be a box turtle:

“You wouldn’t have to swim,
You could feast on fruit,
You could crawl around the forest
And sleep a lot to boot.”.”

“Turtle tried it for a while,
But he couldn’t stick to it.
He was not a box turtle, And he just couldn’t do it.”

When he meets the bear we also see a box turtle and children can compare Little Turtle to the box turtle. The differences are obvious.  The rhyme repeats throughout the story, “He was not a box turtle, And he just couldn’t do it,” as does a second rhyme, “No thank you,” said the turtle, “it’s just not me. I really don’t think that’s what I’m supposed to be.” And so he walked on.

Young readers enjoy predictive rhymes that allow them to complete the story and this encourages them to remember the different types of turtles.  As Little Turtle moves through the story trying to find the home that fits his body, he considers recommendations from a frog, a beetle, and a crab.  Children compare Little Turtle to a painted turtle and a diamondback terrapin. Finally and quite accidentally he finds a place ideally suited to his flippers.

There are many discussion topics in this beautiful picturebook.  Illustrator Laurie Allen Klein, (If a Dolphin Were a Fish) provided excellent detail in her depictions of each turtle and each habitat.  Young readers might actually find themselves empathizing with Little Turtle as he attempts to pull himself out of the gobs of muck he was stuck in while contemplating being a diamondback terrapin.  She makes it easy for making comparisons of not only the turtles but also contrasting differences in their homes and how their specific bodies are adapted for their ideal habitats.

The rhyme encourages reading and the repetition invites participation.  Little Turtle is adorable and smart teachers (and parents) will want to have a sea turtle puppet for children to hold during the reading.  The happy conclusion will make readers smile.

MyMCBooks Blog - May 2012

After cracking and popping out of his egg, the turtle slowly walked away from its nest on the beach and headed for the bay trying to find its way to his new home. He followed the lights but the lights weren’t stars they were houses and cars. So the turtle moved on looking for his new home. He takes a wrong turn and ends up in the woods, the salty marsh and the pond where the bear, the frog, and a beetle told him where he could be. The turtle felt uncomfortable in those areas and kept on walking looking for his home until a crab heard the turtle’s plea and pointed and said, “Out there – that’s where you ought to be”. What a happy ending for the turtle. For not all turtle live on land.

The last few pages of the book includes a section called “For Creative Minds” which gives educational information about the turtle fun facts, match the turtle adaptations and also exercises in matching the turtle to its habitat.

This is a great way for children to learn about the different habitats by these animals. I highly recommend this book for classroom reading.

In Class or While Teaching

This Arbordale Publishing book, in my mind, qualifies as a candidate for numerous teaching awards – not only for science but for language.  All Arbordale books conclude with activities. For Creative Minds is an educational section for use in the classroom. It’s designed for photocopying from the book or downloading copies from their website. Turtle activities include fun facts, adaptations and matching the turtle to its habitat. Where Should Turtle Be makes it easy to recognize the different adaptations and how they best suit the various habitats. While learning about the adaptations vocabulary enhances the educational experience.  “Sea turtles have flippers to help them swim in the oceans.  Turtles that live in water and on land often have webbed feet for the water and claws to help them crawl on the land.”  These statements certainly encourage a return to the story for confirmation. Their website also offers more teaching activities, quizzes, related websites and alignments to standards (state and national). Related websites link to general turtle information, turtle conservation, and turtle-specific sites (for each of the four turtles described in this whimsical story). Regarding accuracy, the author thanks those who know about turtles for their assistance and for verifying the accuracy of the information in this charming and well done book. The lessons and content are perfect for the needs of first and second grades.

Two red eared sliders, in a very large tank, greeted and entertained frequent visitors at the Children’s Museum I managed until last year. They were fascinated by the turtles and some would watch the turtles for an hour.  There’s something about turtles that appeals to four and five year olds (and many adults).  Four and five year olds will love Little Turtle’s personality and inquiring mind that helps him recognize what does and does not work for him.  They will giggle with his accidental success and I’m sorry, but they will probably want a re-read.  I highly recommend Where Should Turtle Be? for classroom and home. Everyone involved with creating this book helped create a delightful book.
Recommended: Yes

Booklist - February 2009

A baby sea turtle emerges from his nest in the sand but, taking a wrong turn, finds himself in the woods. A friendly bear explains the life of a box turtle, but that information doesn’t seem to apply to him—nor does that of a painted turtle at the pond or a terrapin in the salt marsh. Soon, improbably, transported “about a mile and a yard” by a fit of laughter, he finds himself back on the beach and makes his way to the sea. The satisfying rhythm and rhyme of the short verses make this a good choice for reading aloud. Children will sympathize with the little turtle, who listens politely to the advice of others, but follows his own heart in the end. Along the way, they’ll also pick up some ideas about the habits and habitats of four types of turtles, ideas that will be reinforced and extended by the appended “Turtle Fun Facts” and two matching games.
- Carolyn Phelan

National Writing for Children Center - May 2009

Little turtle has hatched from an egg on the beach late one night. However, he becomes confused, disoriented, and ultimately lost as he follows what he thinks is the moon and starlight, but is actually light from nearby houses and cars. Taking a wrong turn, the turtle finds his way into the woods, but doesn’t think he’s in the right place. A friendly bear suggests that perhaps he should be a box turtle and spend his time crawling around the forest floor, eating fruit, and sleeping a lot. But that doesn’t work, because a forest is not his habitat and he is NOT a box turtle.

Next, turtle finds his way to a pond. This time a curious frog suggests he should be a painted turtle and sun on logs and munch on bugs. But a pond is not his habitat and he is NOT a painted turtle. Poor little turtle keeps going until he ends up in a hot, salty marsh. A neighborly beetle suggests he should be a diamond back terrapin who crawls on the mud and munches on bugs. But try as he might, he is NOT a diamond back terrapin, and the marsh is not his habitat! Finally, with the help of an unexpected tickle from the beetle, the turtle finds himself landing on the sandy beach where a helpful crab directs him to his real home in the ocean. He can finally be what he is supposed to be—a turtle in the sea!

This whimsical picture book introduces young children to four kinds of turtles, their characteristics, descriptions, and various habitats. It’s all about exposure to new reptile friends, yet the information is cleverly woven into a charming story that will delight and entertain young readers as they try to guess where the little turtle belongs. There is also a section at the back of the book called Creative Minds that enhances and stretches educational possibilities for students, parents, and teachers. Included are Turtle Fun Facts, Match the Turtle Adaptations, and Match The Turtle To Its Habitat pages. A great story paired with fun learning activities—a winning combination!

Nancy Attebury, children's book author - March 2009

Adventure begins when a little turtle crawls out of his egg on the sandy beach and heads for the bay. However, a wrong turn sends him on a journey in search of his real home. The turtle first enters the forest and encounters a bear who thinks the turtle is a box turtle. But the turtle does not like eating berries and trekking around in the woods so he travels on. He next finds a pond with a helpful frog. The frog thinks the turtle is a painted turtle so the little turtle tries that life style, but again it doesn’t suit him. When he moves on to a salty marsh he becomes stuck in the mud and a beetle tells him he may be a diamondback terrapin. He is now discouraged, so the beetle tickles him and he laughs so hard he ends up flying out of the mud and tumbling down to the sand. A helpful crab points the way to the sea and the little turtle is happy to find his home at last. This tale about the turtle’s desire to find a sense of place is endearing and educational. Delightful illustrations capture a variety of habitats and paint the animal characters with great expressions. The rhyming text weaves a tale of whimsy and is easy to listen to. This book would make an excellent addition to science lessons in early classrooms. End pages contain several activities that enhance the text.

Judith Nasse, Children's Book Reviews - April 2009

This endearing book will warm the hearts of young readers as well as the parents, teachers, and caregivers who read the book aloud. Turtle hatches, but loses his way, not knowing where he lives, and therefore, not sure what kind of turtle he is. Many animal friends try to help him. Will turtle ever find out where he should be? This picture book brings together text and illustrations in a detailed, soft, tender way. Writer Susan Ring verses create a beat all their own, giving children new words to ponder and vocalize, in phrases like “… icky, sticky, muddy ground.” Laurie Allen Klein’s illustrations, done in soft pencil and acrylic, are just the right tone for a little lost turtle. The activities in the back continue to show children the different types of turtles and their habitats and habits with fun interactive pastimes. This book is a must for a child or a classroom, ages 2 – 8.

Reader Views - June 2009

“Where Should Turtle Be?” is the story of a baby sea turtle who takes a wrong turn on the way to the ocean. He finds himself in a variety of places that suit other kinds of turtles but just aren’t right for him. Where does he belong?

Cayden: “My favorite part of the book was when he found out where he belonged. I liked learning about where all of the other kinds of turtles live though. I’ve seen painted turtles before, but not any of the other kinds in the book. I liked reading about them though. The games at the end of the book were fun too!”

Max: “The turtle was lost! I liked when he came out of his nest and I liked the sign that said his nest was there. I liked the bear that tried to help him.”

Parent’s comments: “Where Should Turtle Be?” by Susan Ring is a great educational book that explores the habitats of four different kinds of turtles. My children and I loved the book and learned a lot from it. I especially enjoyed the “For Creative Minds” section at the back of the book which presented more interesting facts about turtles and had two matching games.
- Reviewed by Cayden (age 4 ½) and Max (age 2 ½) Aures and Mom

In the Pages blog - April 9, 2009

I love books about turtles, and this one is very nice. Everyone is trying to tell turtle where to live, but he just doesn't feel at home in those places. But look out when he finds his place - so nice! The illustrations are magnificent in this one too!

Katie's Literature Lounge - April 20, 2009

Little turtle is finally free! He's hatched from his egg and is now determined to explore the world around him. However, his new-found freedom eventually results in turtle getting lost and because he's so little, he doesn't even know where he belongs! As turtle explores his surroundings, the wildlife around him makes suggestions as to what he is and where he belongs. He gives each a try, but eventually moves, finding it not for him. Eventually he figures out that he's a sea turtle. I would think this story would open the door for discussion that one shouldn't give up in the world, as there's always a place for everyone, sometimes you just have to look a little harder to find out where you really belong!

School Library Journal - June 2009

A sea turtle that is blinded by the lights of houses perched on the edge of the ocean goes out into the world instead of toward the bay. Ring uses this starting point to teach readers about other kinds of turtles, such as the box turtle and the terrapin, as the sea turtle wanders through their environments. Unfortunately, the story is told in rhyme, which can make the scientific information sound stilted. Also, the beginning of the story is not well explained, which will necessitate additional information about the ways of sea turtles and why they are born on land but go immediately into the water. The illustrations, created in colored pencil and acrylics, are soft yet detailed. They are accurate, but the similarities in the colors of each environment make the pages blur together. Useful facts and reproducible games appear at the end of the book.
Susan E. Murray, Glendale Public Library, AZ

Run of the Mill blog – February 2009

Love love loved this book! Published by Arbordale Publishing and written by Susan Ring, illustrated by Laurie Allen Klein. A shout out on the illustrations, Laurie—this was our favorite in our bundle. So Where Should Turtle Be? was a lovely teaching book. I found myself effortlessly adding along, engaging my children, talking, and pointing, just based on the book's text and pictures. This overall was our favorite out of the bunch. The text is in rhyme, but there are two verses a spread, which provides lots of educational content within them. The story is all about the cutest sea turtle baby that gets turned around by the light pollution at the beach and heads away from the sea out of the nest. He visits several different habitats, each time trying to fit in as a turtle from that habitat would, but he just can't do it. But don't worry, it has a happy ending! The online teaching resources had the usual gamut of options—lots of dialog activities and writing projects. Not much in the way of cut, paste, or even the picture based activities as I saw in some of the others. I did really like the three back pages in the book, For Creative Minds. Not too busy to follow, simple to do as soon as the story was finished, not too wordy or abstract for a child to jump right into. Where Should Turtle Be? is a new favorite in our home!

ForeWord Magazine - May/June 2009

Soft illustrations help tell the story of a baby sea turtle who follows city lights instead of the stars and ends up lost and confused. Animals try to help him by suggesting he could be a painted turtle or a terrapin, and although he gives it a try, he doesn’t think that’s what he’s supposed to be. Nicely told in rhymes. Fun facts and test sheets follow up. A good book for solo reading in class; take the quizzes at the end.

Stories for Children Magazine - March 2009

If you were a newly hatched turtle, where do you think that you would need to go? Little Turtle breaks away from his nest on the beach and heads for the bay. However, the lights that he ends up following are not the moon and stars but houses and cars, so he turns too soon and gets lost. He needs some assistance. A bear in the woods suggests that he might be a box turtle, but he isn't. A frog at the pond thinks he might be a painted turtle, but he isn't. A beetle at the marsh wonders if he is a diamondback terrapin, but he isn't. Where can he turn for help? And will he ever find where he belongs?

In this Arbordale's Where Should Turtle Be?, the poetic text by Susan Ring and the very realistic illustrations by Laurie Allen Klein together tell an exciting adventure story for young children that is also filled with interesting facts about turtles. At the end of the book, there are three pages of activities "For Creative Minds," such as "Turtle Fun Facts." Did you know that sea turtles find their way to the ocean by moving toward the brightest, most open horizon, which under natural conditions is toward the ocean? There are also exercises in matching turtle adaptations and turtle habitats. In addition, further information about "Related Websites" and "Teaching Activities" can be found at Arbordale Publishing's website to help parents and teachers to expand the learning possibilities. This is a great book that is both fun to read and instructional at the same time.

SO Rhode Island - April 2009

Get a lesson in science and be entertained by reading Where Should Turtle Be? Rhode Islander Susan Ring is an accomplished author (this is her 135th children's book!) and she has also won an Emmy. In this book for kids ages eight and under, Little Turtle loses his way and can't make it back to the ocean. In his adventure, Turtle encounters different animals and habitats, and learns about all different kinds of turtles. In the back of the book, there are educational activities and turtle facts to help little readers retain what they've learned.

Armchair Interviews - February 2009

When the turtle hatched, he got lost. It was just a matter of taking a turn too soon. The world was large and he didn’t know where to go. The various animals tried to help him, but the suggestions they made just didn’t suit him. Through trial and error the turtle eventually finds his place in the new world. Where Should Turtle Be? is a book for 4 to 8-year-old children that will touch their hearts as they root for the little turtle to find his way home. The animals that try to help turtle are cute and cuddly and my grandchildren wanted them for pets. Where Should Turtle Be? is another example of Arbordale’s ability to publish terrific children’s books that entertain and inform. And the education is done subtly and without intrusion into the story.

Armchair Interviews says: Check out the back of the book for the activities provided.