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4.8 5
by Jan Brett

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Who will help Mossy return home to Lilypad Pond?

Mossy, an amazing turtle with a gorgeous garden growing on her shell, loses her freedom when Dr. Carolina, a biologist,  takes her to live in her Edwardian museum. Visitors flock to see Mossy, but it is Dr. Carolina's niece, Tory, who notices how sad Mossy is living in a viewing pavilion. She misses the


Who will help Mossy return home to Lilypad Pond?

Mossy, an amazing turtle with a gorgeous garden growing on her shell, loses her freedom when Dr. Carolina, a biologist,  takes her to live in her Edwardian museum. Visitors flock to see Mossy, but it is Dr. Carolina's niece, Tory, who notices how sad Mossy is living in a viewing pavilion. She misses the outdoors and her friend, Scoot.

Dr. Carolina finds a way to keep the spirit of Mossy alive at the museum. She invites Flora and Fauna to paint Mossy's portrait. Then she and Tory take Mossy home, where Scoot is waiting for her.

Jan Brett fans will pore over the colorful paintings of Lilypad Pond and lush borders displaying wildflowers, ferns, butterflies and birds in contrast to elegant spreads of the museum filled with visitors in stylish Edwardian dress and exquisite borders of shells, rocks, crystals and birds' eggs.

MOSSY gives readers a fascinating look at nature in the wild and on display in a natural history museum.  

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
Brett (Home for Christmas) again lavishes attention on the delights and eccentricities of the natural world in this quiet, idiosyncratic addition to her canon of meticulously rendered picture books. Set in the Edwardian era, the story centers on Mossy, a turtle who lives in a pond-side habitat and has moss, ferns, and wildflowers growing from her carapace. Just after Mossy meets and becomes enamored of a turtle named Scoot, a museum curator, Dr. Carolina, brings Mossy indoors to live in a “viewing pavilion with plants, a reflecting pool and everything they thought a turtle would need.” Though the turtle is carefully tended to and admired by museum visitors, Mossy misses her outdoor home and Scoot. In a contrived solution, two artists (improbably named Flora and Fauna) paint a portrait of Mossy to immortalize her in the museum before Dr. Carolina and her niece return her to the wild. Filled with beetles, shells, feathers, and other natural phenomena, Brett’s signature intricate borders frame gorgeous gouache and watercolor spreads that include handsome period details and some visual surprises. An odd but lovely story. Ages 3–5. (Sept.)
Children's Literature - Carrie Hane Hung
Mossy is an eastern box turtle that lives by Lilypad Pond. She is extraordinary because moss, ferns, and flowers grow on her shell. Mossy is like a walking garden and she attracts the eye of another eastern box turtle named Scoot. She also caught the attention of Dr. Carolina who put Mossy in a glass, garden case at her museum. People come to the museum to see Mossy and the other exhibits. Tory who is Dr. Carolina's niece notices that Mossy is not a happy living at the museum. Dr. Carolina comes up with an interesting idea to resolve Mossy's unhappiness. Brett's detailed drawing fill the page with a garden of color with lots to see. Beside the illustrations for the story, the elaborate borders show collections of butterflies, moss, beetles, orchids, and more. The endpapers are completely filled with greenery. Check the interesting detail that Brett cleverly includes on Scoot's shell. Readers will find a comforting, happy ending to the story. This book makes a beautiful addition to a collection. Reviewer: Carrie Hane Hung
School Library Journal
PreS-Gr 3—Mossy, an eastern box turtle, lives in the deep shade of Lilypad Pond, and the moss growing on her carapace offers fertile ground for a variety of plants. The garden on her back draws the attention of a local naturalist who takes the oddity to her museum as a living display. Mossy, unhappy and missing her home (as well as her special turtle friend), is returned to the wild after her portrait is painted for a happy ending all around. The sweet, simply written story reiterates an important message of respect for the environment. But this is a book by Jan Brett, so the watercolor and gouache illustrations trump the narrative in the storytelling. Here, the artist's familiar borders hold a field guide's worth of expert paintings: butterflies, mosses, fungi, wildflowers, orchids, feathers, crystals, shells, insects, fossils, and seeds. They frame each spread, and detailed illustrations follow the text and include predictive medallions that introduce characters or secondary plot details. Labeling the small drawings would have increased the curricular use of the title, but this omission does not detract from the book's overall value. Mossy is a beauty.—Lisa Egly Lehmuller, St. Patrick's Catholic School, Charlotte, NC
Kirkus Reviews
A turtle with a garden on her shell? Mossy is an eastern box turtle who loves the pond so much that she spends all of her time there, and moss, plants and flowers begin to take root on her carapace. Dr. Carolina and her niece Tory are thrilled to find Mossy in the reeds, and they take her up to their museum, where she quickly becomes a great success. Covered with ferns, berries, mushrooms and flowers and depicted in Brett's inimitable style, Mossy is a glorious sight to behold. What Dr. Carolina doesn't realize, though, is that Mossy was very happy in the pond where she was and that Mossy had just fallen in love! Intricate borders replete with color and detail show the garden, Dr. Carolina's museum and people in Edwardian dress, as Mossy's fame grows to great heights. It's young Tory who realizes that Mossy looks unhappy, and she gives her aunt an idea that saves the day and helps set Mossy free. Animal lovers and Brett fans will find much to savor in this winning blend of vivid colors, unusual heroine, strong female characters, period costume and accessible ideas about nature, living things and art. A quirky and very satisfying tale of nature and home. (Picture book. 5-9)

Product Details

Penguin Young Readers Group
Publication date:
Sales rank:
Product dimensions:
10.38(w) x 11.14(h) x 0.42(d)
AD770L (what's this?)
Age Range:
3 - 5 Years

Meet the Author

Jan Brett lives in Norwell, Massachusetts.

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Mossy 4.8 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 4 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Jan Brett has created a visual masterpiece with her amazing illustrations. My 3-yr-old granddaughter wants to read it over and over, asking the names of the wildflowers and wondering at the beautiful variety of nature's treasures as illustrated by Ms. Brett. Thank you, thank you!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I always love the new Jan Brett books, and this did not disappoint! Her incredible illustrations, fun and loving characters, and wonderful storyline all add up to a great book for young and old! She puts so much into her work...creativity, talent and love...and it shows. I look forward to getting her new book each year!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Sweet story of a turtle inspired by an experience the author had with a 'mossy' turtle.