Space Tortoise

Authored by Ross Montgomery
Illustrated by David Litchfield
Published by Faber & Faber

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Space Tortoise is a delightful picture book written by former teacher Ross Montgomery. With a warm and cosy bin that was dry all year round (even in winter) what more could a tortoise need? This is the question posed in the opening pages of Space Tortoise and as the title suggests, he needs something, well, a little more exciting. Our hero is a lonely tortoise, he can’t find any other animals to play with and in a desperate search to find new friends he decides to reach for the stars.

Convinced that the bright lights in the sky are in fact candles set out by other animals, the tortoise sets about finding a way to reach them. Having found an old book on space rockets, the tortoise decides he must build his own. Journeying through a desert (a sandpit) and a great wide ocean (a swimming pool), the tortoise reaches what he thinks is a rocket in the distance. Using his wonderful imagination the tortoise creates a hot air balloon to reach his ‘rocket’ but alas there are no boosters, no fuel tank and no cockpit.

This doesn’t put off our intrepid explorer and having enlisted the help of a friendly mouse he reaches for the stars in pursuit of friends and adventure in what is a lovely tale. With beautiful illustrations by David Litchfield and a heartwarming sentiment, Space Tortoise is a fantastic book that lends itself easily to classroom adaptation. The learning opportunities are vast, the characters rich and the storyline adaptable. This is a wonderful adventure for 5 – 7-year-olds.

Ross Montgomery has also written many titles for older readers, such as The Midnight Guardians reviewed here.

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