This beautifully illustrated book tells the story of a tortoise who was found in a rather forlorn condition by a young New Zealand Soldier in Salonika during WW1, the developing relationship is told delightfully. It is a gentle, caring and nurturing relationship with a well-depicted backstory.
The real twist is Torty coming home with Stewart and settling into life in New Zealand, a life of adventure that lasted 60 years, the illustrations combined with a wonderful array of rich and vibrant language tell a beguiling story that will keep children’s attention, no matter what the setting. To say that the illustrations are realistic and evocative of a time and place is to understate it: they are first class!
This book is a wonderful addition to our national collection of war stories, ensuring that those who served this country will not be forgotten. Inspired by a true story, it is clear that a lot of research has gone into this book and this makes it even richer.
Readers aged 10 upwards will thoroughly enjoy this, as will any adult who shares it with a younger child.
Reviewed by Marion Dreadon
Torty And The Soldier
by Jennifer Beck and Fifi Colston
Published by Scholastic NZ