Author Luise Manning and Illustrator Elizabeth Burnett
‘Turtle Needs Help’ will have a major effect on saving loggerhead turtles — when used as a stepping stone towards their survival. This book will pique a child’s curiosity about how they can protect this ocean creature. As most children are fascinated with turtles, they’ll be keen to help. Manning has introduced children to the turtle’s world of words using numerous devices: Rhyme and poetry –
- Out pops an egg, followed by another.
- A little baby sister or a little baby brother.
Repetition – Turtle, turtle, swim, swim, swim; Similes – eggs like ping pong balls; Dangers – ghost nets, plastic bags, balloons with strings, ocean debris; and Questions – ‘Turtle, turtle how can we help?’ – will personally involve young readers.
Co-authors* Manning and Burnett know young readers are savvy. This story can prompt readers towards having greater conversations. Parents and teachers can research with children to empower them on ‘being the difference’ — in protecting and not polluting their environment. While young readers learn that plastic bags inside turtles — make them sick, it’s as older readers that they build from these foundations.
This book has the advantage to travel across year levels, creating generations of informed communities. Students’ research will reveal that plastics and trash don’t belong inside any body — theirs or turtles. That plastic bags, balloon releases and other rubbish can travel from land to waterways and into oceans. That 450 years needed to break down plastics won’t eventuate, nor will ‘microplastics’ /bite-size feasts for hungry fish and other marine animals. Why? Because by the time young readers become adults, a lot more rubbish will have been disposed of appropriately — thanks to this picture book.
As for Burnett’s realistic wildlife illustrations, it beckons readers to be the solution. The artworks capture the turtle’s natural environment so honestly that we can watch from the side. One moment we’re being submersed underwater, swimming with the turtles. Next, we’re walking along the footpath leaning down to pick up those two pieces of rubbish.
Also the co-authors* have purposely presented the last three pages as ‘uncomfortable’ — a realisation that people do litter, oblivious to a world beyond their child’s future. The loggerhead turtle’s final expression, on the final page, says what many may think, but do not say.
Congratulations to Luise Manning for the power of words which inspired Elizabeth Burnett’s empowering illustrations.
‘Turtle Needs Help’ is available from: Luise Manning.
Illustrator Elizabeth Burnett’s artworks are exhibited in galleries and Qld Wildlife Artists Society Inc (QWASI).
*co-authors – creators of word and picture narrative
Life’s too short, to take on the world, without a good book. MPB
Maria Parenti-Baldey, primary school teacher, writer, amateur photographer and blogger. www.bigsisterblogs.com