Written by Martin Waddell, Illustrated by Barbara Firth
Candlewick Press, 2003
Harry Tortoise sat on his tree stump.
Previously Reviewed Books from this Author: Captain Small Pig
This super adorable book is sure to be a hit with anyone who likes tortoises or prefers to take life at their own speed. Harry watches as his friends run past and are gone before he can even finish talking to them. He wanders off in search of someone to play with and meets up with Sam Snail, who is a fellow slow mover. Together, they have a wonderful afternoon, playing laidback games and sharing meaningful conversation.
Author Martin Waddell said that the inspiration for this book was a baby named Harry who laughed whenever anyone said ‘hi.’ I love the way he has written this character, who never lets anything get him down. When his friends can’t stop and play with him, he doesn’t pout about it. And when he does find a friend, he truly appreciates the time they spend together, which is something I think we all take for granted sometimes.
Barbara Firth’s watercolor and ink illustrations are a perfect accompaniment. She draws Harry with a child’s sense of wonder and optimism and the red baseball cap is so endearing. While the pictures focus on Harry, she fills in the space around him with grass, flowers, mushrooms and little bugs, who seem to be watching the proceedings with interest. It’s a thoroughly charming book that will entertain kids and make parents think twice the next time their child asks them to stop and play.
And what did we learn? What I take away from this book is that hurrying gets you where you’re going, but stopping to play with friends once in a while is worth the delay.