Giant Turtle’s Long Nap
Dana Green (author) Levendivin (illustrator)
Instilling Goodness Books (2022)
Reviewed by Tammy Ruggles for Reader Views (09/2022)
“Giant Turtle’s Long Nap” by Dana Green, illustrated by Levendivin, is a beautiful retelling of “The Tortoise King” and conveys a generosity of spirit and care for the world and those that live in it, both human and animal.
On the surface it’s a story about a giant turtle who takes a nap that is 1000 years long, who wakes up because he is uncomfortable from the animals and people who live on the mountain that developed on his back. He was in so much pain from the activity—especially the fire he felt—that he wanted to get to the sea to get relief in the cool water. But he also didn’t want to disturb those living on his back, so he slept for another 1000 years. It was during this time that he came up with an idea that would benefit, if not rescue, everyone involved.
Green uses her experience as a teacher to relate spiritual concepts and values to children. This lovely book is a good example of how an author can combine an engaging story with a deeper meaning. The story begins as an allegory of how the earth was formed on the turtle’s back, and how civilization, commerce, and progress developed over time. This allegory teaches readers how people’s use of the earth can actually harm it in the long run, if not cared for properly.
The illustrations are pretty and meaningful and tell the story along with the words. The solution that the turtle comes up with is brilliant as well as heartwarming, leaving young readers and even older readers with a sense of hope, possibility, and realization.
Sometimes authors can be a little heavy-handed with a message that is embedded in a story, but Green has the perfect balance of message and story. The best kind of message is often one wrapped in an entertaining tale such as this one. I personally love the message of how we can find solutions to environmental issues, and actually teach children why we need solutions, and how, over time, we arrived at the conditions we have imposed on the earth. This message is gentle, and we grow to like and respect the turtle—to the point we feel sympathy and compassion.
“Giant Turtle’s Long Nap” by Dana Green, is a profound and wise children’s book with universal appeal.