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Review of Follow the Moon Home: A Tale of One Idea, Twenty Kids, and a Hundred Sea Turtles

cousteau_follow the moon homeFollow the Moon Home: A Tale of One Idea, Twenty Kids, and a Hundred Sea Turtles
by Philippe Cousteau and Deborah Hopkinson; illus. by Meilo So
Primary    Chronicle    48 pp.
4/16    978-1-4521-1241-1    $16.99

When Viv moves with her family to one of the South Carolina barrier islands — beautifully evoked in So’s luscious watercolors of rainbow-hued houses, clear blue ocean, and waving palmetto trees — she muses, “I always need help finding my way, especially in a new place.” Encouraged to take on a community action project (clearly outlined in five steps: Identify, Plan, Take Action, Reflect, and Tell Your Story) by her summer-school teacher, Viv begins to think about her surroundings but keeps getting lost on her bike rides around town. She isn’t the only inhabitant of the island who loses her way: Viv lives near a loggerhead turtle sanctuary, and many young turtles die on the beach as they are leaving their nests. Research reveals the problems: holes left open on the beach; sandcastles creating barriers to the sea; and, worst of all, the bright lights of vacationers’ houses, which lead the young turtles away from their ocean home. Viv and her classmates decide to concentrate their actions on asking beachfront visitors to turn off their lights, following the community action steps with great success. The strong narrative culminates on a moonlit night with a turtle “boil,” or mass hatching, reverently depicted through quiet shades of blue and brown as the hatchlings follow the natural light to the sea. Appended with authors’ notes about loggerheads and community activism, as well as with relevant 
websites.

From the July/August 2016 issue of The Horn Book Magazine.

About Betty Carter

Betty Carter, an independent consultant, is professor emerita of children’s and young adult literature at Texas Woman’s University.

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