"Hunter (The Lighthouse Santa) introduces a seven-year-old autistic girl named Mimi, who discovers a sea turtle on the beach in Cape Cod and refuses to leave it there. "Dead as a doornail," insists one of the locals, but a representative of the Massachusetts Audubon Society gives Mimi hope when he's called to pick up the turtle: it may just be "cold-shocked" after being trapped in the waters of the cape. Hunter gives an honest, unsentimental portrait of Mimi's developmental difficulties, and the emotional range of Spellman's (Oscar the Herring Gull) watercolors underscore the important connection Mimi makes with the rescued turtle, Ridley 3. After Ridley 3 is moved to an aquarium to rehabilitate, Mimi tries to help feed it with tongs. " ‘Eat, turtle,' she said, tickling the sides of its mouth.... It was the first time Mimi had ever put her own sentence together." In a moving epilogue set 30 years in the future, Mimi re-appears as an adult scientist, driving home the idea that the oft-repeated message of the title applies to more than just turtles. Ages 5–9."—Publishers Weekly
"a captivating and compelling new book with an unusual twist its heroine is autistic….beautifully illustrated...tells the story of an extraordinary environmental occurrence"—Henry Miller, Huffington Post
"A perfectly paced adventure….the book is a thoughtful, beautifully illustrated way to teach kids about thinking outside their own understanding of the world to help others."—Lane Brown, Christian Science Monitor
“An enchanting picture book about a young girl who finds strength in helping animals. . . the matter-of-fact, compassionate depiction of Mimi’s special needs is both child friendly and honest. The author’s gentle voice rings just as clearly in her explanation of endangered sea turtles . . . this beautifully written story may help inspire a new generation of open-minded activists.”—Kirkus Review
An enchanting picture book about a young girl who finds strength in helping animals. Hunter (The Lighthouse Santa, 2011, etc.) introduces readers to Mimi, a girl who speaks only to echo what others say, and her loving, persistent mother, who's determined to find a way to communicate with her. Mimi loves the beach, but she's more interested in running across the dunes than she is in searching for seashells with her mother. When Mimi trips and falls next to the water, she finds a sea turtle, stunned by the cold, staring back at her, and she feels an immediate connection with the wounded creature--even though everyone believes that the motionless turtle is dead. It takes a friendly member of the Audubon Society to convince the adults in Mimi's life that her turtle stands a chance of survival, and he takes it to a rescue center. When Mimi goes to visit the turtle, which the scientists call Ridley 3, it becomes apparent that the bond they share may change both their lives. Mimi quickly proves that the adults were wrong to write Ridley 3 off and that she, too, may have a brighter future than anyone imagined. This charming picture book, written with perceptiveness and candor, sets up teachable moments that feel natural and organic. For example, readers are introduced to Mimi long before her autism is mentioned, and the matter-of-fact, compassionate depiction of Mimi's special needs is both child friendly and honest. The author's gentle voice rings just as clearly in her explanation of endangered sea turtles, which is neither sugarcoated nor too scary for elementary schoolers. Children will likely empathize with Mimi's determination to help Ridley 3, and this beautifully written story may help inspire a new generation of open-minded activists. A heartwarming children's story about seeing the value in every living thing.