The Box Turtle by Vanessa Roeder

After Terrance, a turtle, is born without a shell, his parents improvise by dressing him in a cardboard box. It’s the perfect substitute—it keeps him out of the rain, gives him a place to hide, and it’s even big enough to invite a friend over. However, when another turtle calls his box weird, Terrance sets off to find a better shell … But what happens when he discovers he misses his box?

Author Vanessa Roeder has taken a basic exploration of self-confidence and shaped it into a downright charming story of a turtle and his box. With a simple, almost jaunty text, she takes Terrance on a journey that sees him testing out various new shells with hilarious consequences. Ultimately, through the help of a trusty friend, he realizes that maybe he was perfect just the way he was. Even so, Roeder elevates the story by adding one final twist on her way to a satisfying ending.

Roeder also beautifully translates this text into some adorable illustrations. By blending digital work with colored pencil and paint, she creates soft, attractive panels that are punctuated with humorously detailed full-pages. There’s a lot of love on display without ever feeling saccharine. And whether Terrance is wearing a mailbox or snuggling up with his hermit crab friend, he comes off as endearing as an illustrated turtle can.

With a clear message that doesn’t preach, fun characters, and illustrations that heighten the text, The Box Turtle is everything a picture book should be.


Title: The Box Turtle
Author: Vanessa Roeder
Publisher: Dial Books
Publication Date: February 11, 2020
Classification: Picture Book

Roeder’s Website | Publisher’s Page | Goodreads


Note: I received a free ARC of this book through Edelweiss.

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