My twin brother Matthew and I rescued frogs and turtles each summer in Castine Maine. “Stop the car,” we’d screech if a small animal was hopping or crawling in the road. My mother would pull over dutifully while we carefully moved the small animal from the tar to the other side of the road. We learned quickly which turtles snapped, which frogs peed in our hands, and which snakes were harmless Garters. We mostly learned by experience, but occasionally we visited the library to learn more.

Melissa Kim has written a new board book called A Blanding’s Turtle Story. I’m planning to give it to a friend whose young son is also a lover of small animals. Kim’s storyline is simple and easy to follow. She answers the questions kids would typically have about a Blanding’s Turtle. What does the turtle do all day? What places are safe for a turtle? When should a human move a turtle if found in the road or the woods? Jada Fitch’s illustrations are beautiful. The colors are soft yellows and greens that beg a closer look to uncover details like polliwogs and sunlit spaces.

The lifecycle of the Blanding’s Turtle is explained along with a cautionary tale for humans about caring for an animal and its environment. The message about humans is subtle, but provides a great place to start an environmental discussion early on with the generation who will need to care for our world as well. I highly recommend all three of Kim’s Audubon books for the little one in your life or the parents of one.