“Space Tortoise” by Ross Montgomery, illustrated by David Litchfield is a happy-ending story of a little lonely, but adventurous and enterprising tortoise on a journey to the stars (which it believes are candles held by other animals) to find a friend. It’s a rich, soulful picture book!
I love it that there’s a book in the story, where the little tortoise learns all about travelling to space. Such a subtle idea of books as a knowledge repository! And its perception of the surroundings is just heart melting: a clocktower looks like a rocket, a sand pit feels like a desert, forgotten buckets are pyramids. The story takes place at night-time and illustrations are filled with gorgeous sky colours and twinkling lights. Add to this the fact that the small tortoise recycles materials out of garbage bins (where she has made herself a cosy home) to craft its astronaut costume and the different means of transportation to cross the desert, the ocean and to fly up what it imagines to be a rocket. There’s so much going on visually, so many conversation openers.
It ticks many of little gosling’s “I love” boxes: tortoises, journey to space, stars, rockets and astronauts, candles, hot air balloons and friendship. So many occasions for excitement and deliciously heart-warming laughs and squeals during reading time. You should see him trying to blow out little tortoise’s candle on every page :)))). Or listen to the disconcerted and surprised pitchy “noo” at the imagined rocket’s lack of cockpit and other rockety stuff..
I got the book because of its space travel references and it was spot on! Little gosling has not shown great interest in non-fiction books so far, therefore all our space books are wrapped in stories. And this one is very relatable and sweet. Plus, I find David Litchfield’s night time and woods’ illustrations special and incredibly appealing.