Slower than Fido the dog or Tibby the cat, Thomas the turtle takes so long to move around William's garden that he is often left out by his friends. This makes him so sad that he retreats inside his shell. William, a gentle farmer, takes Thomas to the potting shed. There he builds him a cart and, after that, Thomas can roll around at a good speed, if one of his friends will push him. At first glance this is simply a sweet and endearing tale, but a second look reveals that some of the undercurrents need a bit of explanation to readers at the youngest end of the age range. To sacrifice one's independence, no matter how limited that independence, may seem extreme. But the whimsical ink drawings, washed with sunny watercolors, smooth away such concerns and keep the glow in this garden tale. Ages 3-6. (Sept.)
PreS-Gr 1-- Thomas the tortoise can't keep pace with his animal friends until farmer William builds him a cart out of scrap materials. This is a charming idea for a book, but is not done justice here. Jeffery attempts a child-like style to illustrate his story. Flowers have smiley faces, and animals speak in balloon captions. Unfortunately, the figures are static, and the muted watercolors make the illustrations unnecessarily drab. Quality of reproduction varies from page to page. Text and illustrations adequately support each other, but overall this is a lackluster presentation. --Jane Tighe, Baltimore County Public Lib .