WARNING: Reading this article may give away things in the story ranging from unimportant to plot turners.
The Foolish Tortoise by Richard Buckley
Type: Children’s, Picture Book
Basic Plot: A turtle gets tired of his shell and wishes to live like everybody else. He eventually realizes it is better to have a shell and returns to it.
Plot: 4/5 Well Done: The short book is the typical story of a discontent creature that wishes to be something other than it was designed to be, along the way meeting dangers that make it realize that maybe it was better in a shell. It is simple, but its old fashioned simplicity is one of the reasons it is sweet.
Writing Style and Setup: 3/5 Average: The Foolish Tortoise is a short book wrote in poetry form, specifically couplets. It has a definite beginning, middle, and end that moves at a quick pace. Though it leaves out the potential detail that some children’s books have, families that prefer fast paced, simple stories or have very young children will no doubt appreciate and enjoy this fast read.
Graphics: 3½/5 Above Average: The art is drawn by Eric Carle, who is famous for writing and illustrating The Very Hungry Caterpillar. The art looks very cut and paste, having some of the same colorful charm that the other book had, but not as much fineness of shape, at least in my opinion.
Moral: 2½/5 Potentially Good or Bad Moral: This is a good story to teach children to appreciate the way they were made rather than despise it, as well as to look the pros of things rather than the cons. The turtle realizes that though his shell is inconveniently heavy, it provides a safety that he did not notice until he discarded it. Children can learn that the things in their life, such as rules, school, and their own personal hindrances, can have a use they do not even realize.
On a darker side, one could see this as a story that is merely saying not to be ambitions. Since it is too hard and scary to try something new, go back to the old way of doing things, safe but sturdy. Several parents may understandably not like this and look at the book as an ambition extinguisher rather than an encourager to stick to good traditions.
Overall: 3½/5 Above Average: The Foolish Turtle is a book is good for the use of entertaining toddlers and babies. Unless there is already an emotional attachment to the creators or story in any way, though, I can not see children older than five really enjoying the story.
Sexual and Inappropriate Content: 0/5 None
Violence: 0/5 None
Swearing and Using the Lord’s Name in Vain: 0/5 None
Emotional, Intense, and Disturbing Content: ½/5 The turtle gets scared of several animals that could eat or hurt him. Bad weather bothers him.
Religious Issues: 0/5 None
Magic: 0/5 None
Overall: ½/5 All Ages Appropriate: This is a book that could be read to no doubt anybody of any age, even babies.