Bartleby of the Mighty Mississippi

( 1 )


All Bartleby has ever known is life in his plastic bowl. Then his boy chucks him into the big water place. There Bartleby faces challenges both fearful and thrilling. He also meets another discarded pet-Seezer-an alligator whose true home is the Mighty Mississippi, too. Seezer wants Bartleby to help him seek out the great river. But can a small turtle trust a growing alligator? "The most redoubtable animal ...
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All Bartleby has ever known is life in his plastic bowl. Then his boy chucks him into the big water place. There Bartleby faces challenges both fearful and thrilling. He also meets another discarded pet-Seezer-an alligator whose true home is the Mighty Mississippi, too. Seezer wants Bartleby to help him seek out the great river. But can a small turtle trust a growing alligator? "The most redoubtable animal character down the pike since Avi's Poppy."-Booklist

Junior Library Guild Selection

New York Public Library 100 Best Books

Washington Irving Children's Choice Honor Book

Golden Sower Children's Choice Book Award nominee

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Editorial Reviews

From The Critics
In this high-interest, low-level reader, Bartleby is a turtle, content to eat turtle flakes and swim in his turtle bowl—'til he sees a TV show about turtles living in the mighty Mississippi. Wishing to swim freely with his red-eared relatives, Bartleby pretends that a nearby puddle is the mighty Mississippi. Through a mishap, Bartleby is left to fend himself in a swamp. He must learn to hunt for food, keep away from predators, and make friends with a myriad of swamp life—including an alligator, seeking to find his own way home. Shalant creates an appealing tale about the difference between hoping for a more exciting life and getting that hoped-for life. Readers will love Bartleby's perspective on the unfamiliar—like the "rain" that come from human eyes. Older readers will relate to Bartleby's efforts to survive in the "big water" of the mighty Mississippi. Genre: Animals/Fiction/Survival 2000, Dutton, 164p
Children's Literature
Bartleby is a pet turtle whose world is bounded by the sides of his shallow bowl. He has been stuffed into a miniature dune buggy and crashed into walls, used as a tank to knock over toy soldiers, and crammed into a scratchy jacket pocket and forgotten overnight. But that's nothing compared to the challenges and hardships he must face when he is literally cast out into the world by one of his young owners. Bartleby finds himself in a pond inhabited by friend and foe alike, where his survival depends upon learning whom to trust and on trusting his own newfound abilities. The delightful cast of characters includes--Mudly, the stinkpot turtle (a.k.a. Sternotherus oderatus), who serves as Bartleby's mentor, a nesting mallard duck named Mother Wak, who fears for the safety of her offspring, Zip the peeper frog who converses in verses and serves as protector and playmate, and Sneezer, an abandoned pet alligator, whose quest to return to the mighty Mississippi will alter the course of Bartleby's life. This reptilian coming of age story will capture the reader's imagination as it both charms and educates. 2000, Dutton Children's Books/Penguin Putman,
School Library Journal
Gr 3-6-Bartleby is a red-eared turtle, a pet living in a bowl in a house full of rambunctious brothers. His adventure begins when the youngest boy thoughtlessly throws him into a nearby pond for a swim. He quickly learns which of the other pond dwellers are his friends. The only enigma is the alligator, Seezer, another discarded pet that longs for its natural home, the mighty Mississippi River. "We had many ssscrumptious red-ears near my nest [back home]-" threatens the menacing lizard. Yet, the creature is intrigued when, in order to save himself, Bartleby pretends to know the way to the Mississippi. An unlikely pair, Bartleby and Seezer set out together, and though there are many close calls, the determined little turtle ultimately gets them to a river that leads to their destination. Shalant's novel is a sweet, warm allegory about the pains of growing up. Bartleby struggles with staying away from his humans and feels the pain of heartache when they seem to abandon him. A gentle story with an ethical and likable main character dealing with his own uniqueness.-Judith Everitt, Orchard Hill Elementary School, Skillman, NJ Copyright 2000 Cahners Business Information.
Kirkus Reviews
Shalant (The Great Eye, 1996, etc.) presents a delightful fantasy about a pet turtle named Bartleby who wants to return to his home in the Mississippi. Seeing other red-eared turtles on television, he knows he belongs with more of his own kind in freedom. He gets the opportunity to escape when a petulant child retaliates against his sibling and tosses him into a swamp. Life outside of his comfy ginger is far from easy, however. There are "creatures of the claw, paw or jaw" that take advantage of his naïveté. With a little help from some friends—Mudly, a stinkpot turtle, Kingfisher, a duck named Mother Wak, and Muskrat—he is able to survive these daily threats. Bartleby heroically leads the greatest threat to their existence, an alligator named Seezer, back to the Mississippi with him. There are no interior illustrations, but the cover aptly conveys the final amiable relationship that is reached between Seezer and Bartleby when they realize they must put aside their opposite natures and work as a team to reach their final destination. (Fiction. 8-11)
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780595444779
  • Publisher: iUniverse, Incorporated
  • Publication date: 4/28/2007
  • Pages: 180
  • Sales rank: 979,658
  • Age range: 8 - 12 Years
  • Product dimensions: 5.98 (w) x 9.02 (h) x 0.41 (d)

Meet the Author

Phyllis Shalant
Phyllis Shalant teaches creative writing to children and adults and lives in White Plains, New York.
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Table of Contents

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Customer Reviews

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Sort by: Showing 1 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted January 21, 2007

    Great story for third graders

    My third graders always love this story. I've used Bartleby for a read aloud and also for small groups of students to read together. It is well-written and the action moves along at a good pace.

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