My Friend the Box Turtle
written by Joanne Randolph
2011 (Windmill Books)
Source: Orange County Public Library
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When I was a child, I received a box turtle as a present and it didn't end well. Given my past experience, I am hopeful that reviewing My Friend the Box Turtle will help other children avoid a similar experience. In the first section of this book, there is general information about box turtles including different species and habitats. I was surprised to learn that there are box turtles in the desert. I would have thought they needed more moisture, but apparently they can dig deep enough to meet their needs. The meat of this book begins with the next section titled Home Sweet Home. Readers find information about how to build a home for a box turtle. Since reptiles can't make their own heat, you will need to purchase heating pads and heating lamps. Caring for a turtle may be more of a task then first thought. Turtles need several different areas in their home to thrive. A dry area, a hiding/sleeping spot, and a pool are all necessary amenities for a turtle. This sounds like an episode of House Hunters, but building this habitat the right way is extremely important. The final section, Caring For Your Turtle, includes tips for daily care including a once a day misting, vitamins, and a diet that includes slugs, mushrooms, and fruits.
I like shorter nonfiction titles like My Friend the Box Turtle because primary students like my youngest daughter eat them up. They don't receive a lot of attention, but these books are a valuable part of any elementary school media collection. They help build background knowledge and are a great resource for science instruction in K-1 classrooms. These books are also a gateway to learning about how to research a topic. Our kindergarten classes create nonfiction books and titles like this one provide a resource that is a perfect fit for them.