Turtles in My Sandbox

Turtles in My Sandbox

5.0 3
by Jennifer Keats Curtis, Emanuel Schongut

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Imagine finding turtle eggs in your sandbox! When a mother diamondback terrapin lays eggs in a young girl's sandbox, the girl becomes a “turtle-sitter” to help the babies safely hatch. She raises the teeny hatchlings until they become big enough to fend for themselves in the wild. Then, with the help of experts, she releases them. Along the way, she learns


Imagine finding turtle eggs in your sandbox! When a mother diamondback terrapin lays eggs in a young girl's sandbox, the girl becomes a “turtle-sitter” to help the babies safely hatch. She raises the teeny hatchlings until they become big enough to fend for themselves in the wild. Then, with the help of experts, she releases them. Along the way, she learns about these unique animals and that she has made an important contribution to their survival. The “For Creative Minds” educational section includes terrapin fun facts and a turtle habitat craft.

Editorial Reviews

Children's Literature - Judy Crowder
Maggie is lucky enough to live near the ocean. So near, in fact, that a mother diamondbacked terrapin lays eggs in Maggie's old sandbox. Once Maggie discovers the eggs, the adventure is on! With the help of the Internet, Maggie and her mother hook up with "The Turtle Lady," who tells her how to protect the eggs. Suddenly Maggie is a terrapin-sitter. She places a wire cage over the eggs to keep predators out, then, fifty-five days later, watches the hatchlings emerge. Now the real work begins. Determined to give these hatchlings a head start, she keeps the nine babies in aquariums over the winter, feeding them cut-up fish and turtle pellets and keeping them warm with heat lamps. Finally, the first day of summer, Maggie, her mother, the Turtle Lady, and wildlife experts all gather to release the tagged, healthy nine-month-old terrapins into the bay. Will the females come back years later to Maggie's sandbox? Only time will tell. This is a lovely book with charming illustrations. Pages (downloadable and photocopy permitted) labeled, "For Creative Minds" at the back of the book include turtle facts, a terrapin habitat craft, and information on the program and Web siteWeb site designed to protect Maryland's state reptile. Best of all, the author donates part of her royalties to the Terrapin Institute. This book is ideal for an elementary classroom project!
School Library Journal
Gr 1-3-When a diamondback terrapin lays 10 pink eggs in Maggie's backyard sandbox, the resourceful girl seeks help from local experts and agrees to become a turtle-sitter. She and her mother wait for the babies to hatch and then care for them until it's time to set them free in their ocean habitat. The author's information is correct but her prose is awkward and lacks drama. The illustrations are average in quality and often don't accurately reflect the text. For example, Mama Turtle is described as having "sharp black claws," but Schongut depicts them as white in every instance. Also, in a spread in which Curtis describes the differences among the nine hatchlings, the picture portrays them as nearly identical. Back matter includes a craft, but the instructions are poor, and the activity is unlikely to engage kids.-Daisy Porter, San Jose Public Library, CA Copyright 2006 Reed Business Information.
Kirkus Reviews
When a diamondback terrapin mistakes Maggie's sandbox for the nearby beach, Maggie is treated to nine months of caring for and watching the eggs and young hatchlings. With some guidance from the Turtle Lady, Maggie becomes a turtle sitter, giving the baby turtles a head start and increasing their chances of survival in the wild, where their counterparts are hibernating. Through Maggie's very observant eyes, readers will get to know the turtles individually as they hatch, feed and spend the winter in the habitat she has created for them. On the first day of summer, wildlife experts tag the babies and Maggie lets them go. Schongut's detailed watercolors perfectly support the text, showing readers not just up-close views of the turtles, but also their aquarium habitat and the food they eat in the wild. A reproducible section (also on the web) encourages teachers and wildlife educators to share fun facts and turtle crafts with children. Sure to spark an interest in these amazing creatures, and to increase participation in Maryland's turtle project. (Picture book/nonfiction. 6-10)

Product Details

Sylvan Dell Publishing
Publication date:
Sales rank:
Product dimensions:
8.50(w) x 10.00(h) x 0.50(d)
AD770L (what's this?)
Age Range:
6 - 10 Years

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Turtles in My Sandbox 5 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 3 reviews.
FeatheredQuillBookReviews More than 1 year ago
What child wouldn't be totally excited if they discovered little turtle eggs in their sandbox? That's exactly what happened to a young girl named Maggie one day. You see, a mother diamondback terrapin laid her eggs in Maggie's sandbox. With the assistance of her mother and local turtle experts, Maggie learns how to take extra special care of the young brood until they safely hatch, grow for about nine months, and become large enough to be set free into the bay where they belong. Turtles In My Sandbox is not only a cute tale for readers between the ages of 4-8 years, but it's a story that is based on actual events that occur in schools from Florida to Massachusetts. While it is not too likely your child will end up with terrapin eggs in their sandbox, this story has an important lesson about conservation and care of wildlife that will delight children of all ages. Illustrator Emanuel Schongut expertly draws appealing watercolors that follow the story nicely and gives accurate details of the actual terrapins and their nesting areas. Also included in this book is an educational section entitled 'For Creative Minds,' that includes further learning about the diamondback terrapins' life-cycle (they're only about the size of a quarter when hatched), fun facts (turtles have no teeth!), their usual habitat, and finally a terrapin fun craft that will educate and entice children to want to learn more about these turtles that are in danger of becoming extinct in some areas of the United States. Finally, online resources can be utilized by parents or teachers to support this book that includes teaching activities and quizzes that can be found on the Sylvan Dell Publishing website. Quill says: Do you want to learn more about diamondback terrapin turtles, in a lovely story packed with factual information? Then you must check out this book!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I bought this book for my grandson because he loves turtles and we read it together a lot before his naps.
Guest More than 1 year ago
A few decades ago, it was common to have terrapins as pets in homes and classrooms. One could win them at fairs and buy them with painted shells at seaside resorts. It was a shame then that there was not more education about terrapins and their natural habitat. Jennifer Keats Curtis¿ most informative book would have been welcome then as it surely is now. Children can easily relate to Ms. Curtis¿ book and the tale of Maggie who finds terrapin eggs in her sandbox! With the help of the Turtle Lady, Maggie and her mother care for the eggs until the turtles hatch and are released back into the sea. It is a delight that Ms. Curtis uses the scientific terms for the body parts of the terrapins as it helps children stretch their vocabularies. Emanuel Schongut¿s watercolor illustrations are clear, detailed and offer excellent support to the text. The facts and color activities at the end of the book are a first-rate addition to the book. This book is highly recommended for ages 4 ¿ 10, and will be a great addition to second to fifth grade science units in classrooms.