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Old 28th April 2008   #1
Otterwoman
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Default Book Review: What Newt Could Do For Turtle (Children's Book) (London and Voce)

Book Review: What Newt Could Do for Turtle
by Jonathan London, illustrated by Louise Voce (Candlewick Press, 1996, 40 pages).

This is a story about a friendship between a newt and a turtle. It is not a book that teaches anything about science; it is a story that uses animals in an allegorical way, that is, as a means to illustrate a human(e) principle. It's meant to illustrate friendship, giving, and giving back. The story is worthwhile and the illustrations are delightful and heartwarming.

Turtle is always on hand to help Newt out of a scrape, and Newt wishes he could do something for Turtle, which he finally manages.

This book takes place in a mystical land where alligators, bobcats, notos, polecats, turtles, and cottonmouths are all found. Also in this land, the seasons change, and winter comes. Seeing the alligator swimming under the falling Fall leaves was a bit jarring, but in a land where a turtle and a newt can be best friends, the normal laws of species mixing don't apply. (Of course I'm being facetious, using scientific standards on a genre that is not meant to follow such mundane principles. )

In the end, I don't care if newts don't really dance with turtles* -- look at those adorable pictures. Children's books make up for, in fanciful pictures, what they lack in realism.
It's a trade-off I'll willingly accept. Moreover, I think that while allegorical salamander stories may not teach science, anthropomorphization teaches compassion and may prepare a child not to be squeamish about certain animals later on. For example, once when my nephew visited, I tried to show him and his mother my little leopard gecko Fluffy. He was scared of the lizard because his mother saw it and said "Eeeew, take it away." He mirrored his mother's reaction. If I could have referred him to a beloved fairy tale or favorite lizard toy it might have allowed him to overcome his mother's reaction and form his own. Kids learn what they're taught.
If he can learn compassion for them when he's young, he may approve habitat-sparing legislation for them, and other "eeew"-type animals, when he grows up to be President of the United States. Or something along these lines.

This book is definitely worth reading to your little newt. Paperback available used on Amazon starting at $2.76.


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*Actually, it only looks that way in the picture; they're not dancing. Turtle is pulling Newt out of the mud.
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Old 28th April 2008   #2
Kaysie
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Blast you, Dawn! This was the book I was going to review this week!

I adore this book. It's definitely a children's book, and by no means scientifically accurate (as already pointed out), but it is very cute, and the illustrations are very nice.



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Old 28th April 2008   #3
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Ooooooooooh, I'm sorry! I feel really bad! I'm trying to encourage other people to contribute here too!
If you wrote the review already, you can still post it, just add it to the thread! When I want to read about a book, I read a whole bunch of the amazon reviews, not just one.
OK, then, here's a list of all the books I plan to review in the coming weeks:
But if anyone else wants to do one of them, let me know, and you can do it instead! I don't have to have all the fun!

Designer Reptiles and Amphibians (Bartlett)
Popular Amphibians (de Vosjoli)
Reptile and Amphibian Problem Solver (Davies)
Encyclopedia of Reptiles and Amphibians (Cogger and Zweifel)
The World's Most Spectacular Reptiles and Amphibians (Lamar)
War with the Newts (Capek)
Reps and Amphibs for Dummies
Audubon REptile and Amphib. guides (and not Peterson's, I don't have any of those)
A Guide by someone named Gramercy


Then, if no one has done Bishop, Hofrichter, Duellman & Trueb, I will, but I think I'm not the best one to do those.

Abrahm's said he'll do Stebbins.


Also I have these to do:

Children's:
Pip's Magic (Ellen Walsh)
Red Spotted Newt (Doris Cove)
Salamander Rock (Mitter)

I'm sorry again, Kaysie! I thought you were too busy. If I were a house elf, I'd beat myself with a poker!

-------------------------
Edit:

Oh, and Daniel has been assigned Breeding Food Animals LIve Food for Vivarium Animals by Friederich & Volland .



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Old 28th April 2008   #4
Sam
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well i'm going to review "case of the midwife toad" when I'm done reading it, seems interesting so far..



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Old 28th April 2008   #5
Kaysie
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Default Re: Book Review: What Newt Could Do For Turtle (Children's Book)

Dawn, don't beat yourself up; I was just joshing! And I didn't know anyone else had heard of that book!



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