Old Turtle

by Douglas Wood, Illustrations by Cheng-Khee Chee

Pfeifer-Hamilton Publishers, 1992.
Picture Book, 44 pages.
ISBN: 0439309085
Ages 4-8

Old Turtle by Douglas Wood Old Turtle by Douglas Wood with illustrations by Cheng-Khee Chee is a beautiful and spiritual book. First published in 1993, it was chosen as the 1993 Book of the Year by the American Booksellers Association and was awarded the 1993 Children's Book Award by the International Reading Association. If this book is not already in your collection, it should now be added.

Old Turtle is a very special blending of text and illustration. The enchanting and mystical water colors of Cheng-Khee Chee begin to weave their spell from the cover of the book through to the last page. Told as a fable, the message of Old Turtle begins with simple words under beautiful, yet small, paintings. Slowly the words increase with the size of the illustrations, until both fill the pages with stunning and uplifting words and color.

Old Turtle begins slowly with each part of the earth proclaiming what God is, and each predictably sees God as a reflection of itself. The different animals and parts of the earth begin to argue about the nature of God, until the argument became louder, and louder and louder. Then the voice of Old Turtle, who has rarely spoken before, is heard and it is like thunder. Old Turtle says that there will be a new kind of creature in the world that will be very different from other animals and that it will come in many colors and shapes. The people come and while they were as wonderful as the Old Turtle had predicted, they also begin to argue and hurt the earth until the forests and oceans begin to die. Then a voice seems to come from everywhere, the mountains, the oceans and the breezes and it seems to say that God is everywhere and that his love touches everything. After a long time, the people begin to listen and see God in each other and in the earth as well. The Old Turtle smiles and so does God.

Although it speaks of God, Old Turtle has a message that can be acceptable to all spiritual persons, regardless of faith. It will give a child a sense of love and comfort. The beauty of the illustrations and of the message make Old Turtle a very special book that will enchant both adults and children.

--Sarah Reaves White

Old Turtle is available for purchase on Amazon.com

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This review was published in the August, 2001 of The Internet Writing Journal.

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