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Reviewed by Emily-Jane Hills Orford for Readers' Favorite
“I’m Tessy, the Green Sea Turtle, let me be!” Tessy Turtle has a plea for us all to hear. In Anna Casamento Arrigo’s Tessy Turtle, Tessy shares her story and educates us on the fragile life cycle of sea turtles, as well as other turtles. So many things affect the turtles’ survival: raccoons and other predators, humans' relentless pollution, and poaching to use real turtle shells for combs and other ornaments. The list is endless and the result is the decimation of these beautiful creatures. They are now an endangered species and even though there are some protected places where green sea turtles can thrive without fear of being destroyed, more needs to be done. This includes education and action. It’s okay to observe and study the turtles, even take pictures of them, but otherwise, do not touch them!
Anna Casamento Arrigo’s picture book, Tessy Turtle, is an engaging and informative read. Told in rhyming verse, in the first person narrative from Tessy’s point of view, this endearing story will educate young readers about sea turtles and the problems they face just to survive. The language is simple so young readers can easily follow along and improve their reading skills. The important messages are repeated several times to make sure the point is enforced. Young readers will quickly begin to recognize the key catchphrases. The illustrations are bright, bold, and colorful and give the reader a full picture of Tessy’s life as a green sea turtle. Young readers will learn a lot about caring for the environment, as well as the fragile sea turtle. Hopefully, these young readers will be able to educate their elders, too.