Skip to main content

Alfie: (The Turtle that Disappeared) by Thyra Heder

Alfie: (The Turtle that Disappeared) is the third picture book written and illustrated by Thyra Heder and it is every bit as enchantingly charming, happily domestic and intimately detailed as Fraidyzoo and The Bear Report. But, I must confess that, as the owner of four three-toed-box-turtles, two of whom "escaped" to be found a few weeks later in the backyard some thirteen years ago, I had to take a few deep breaths as I read Alfie: (The Turtle that Disappeared). That said, I am the adult caretaker of these reptiles. I have no doubt that kids listening to or reading Alfie: (The Turtle that Disappeared) will fall in love immediately with this story of a girl and her turtle. Or is it a story of a turtle and his girl?
Nia narrates this story that begins on her sixth birthday when she gets Alfie, a turtle who is probably also six. Nia talks to Alfie all the time, telling him stories about her day at school, teaching him dances, introducing him to all her toys and even making decorations for his tank and leaving him presents. When Alfie doesn't respond, Nia loses interest, absorbed with plans for her seventh birthday. Then Alfie disappears.

A two-page illustration of Alfie's empty tank is followed by a change in narrators. Now Alfie is telling the story of the first day he met Nia, all the wonderful things she does for him and his wish to, "make her as happy as she made me?" Alfie's search, throughout the house, including a hilarious exchange with Toby, the dog, leads him outside. Sad, cold and tired, Alfie settles down for a nap in a pond in the backyard.

Waking in the spring, Alfie finds just the right present for Nia and delivers it just in time . . . for her eighth birthday!

Alfie: (The Turtle that Disappeared) ends with an Author's Note about her own Alfie, which she received on her sixth birthday. Like Nia, Thyra lost interest in her pet. But, some twenty years later, she discovered that the, "lucky thing about turtles is their lifespan is long enough for you to all back in love with them." Heder fell back in love with Alfie watching him wander around her childhood home, sticking his head into slippers and scratching his back on the radiator. Alfie is a story about love - the love of a pet owner for her pet that stops being new and exciting - and the love of a pet for his owner. 
More Books by Thyra Heder:

Fraidyzoo and 
The Bear Report

Source: Review Copy


Popular posts from this blog

Made by Dad: 67 Blueprints for Making Cool Stuff - Projects You Can Build For (and With) Kids! by Scott Bedford

On his personal website, Scott Bedforddescribes himself as an "Award Winning Online Creative Professional" working within the advertising and design industry. What is more interesting (and applicable here) is how hisWhat I Made website came to be. While sitting in a Starbucks with his restless young sons, trying to enjoy his latte, Bedford created something out of coffee stir sticks that ended up keeping his boys entertained, finishing his coffee in peace and sparking (re-sparking, really) his creative drive and reminding him of the "enormous joy gained from making things, even simple things, and that this joy is not the complexity or quality of the finished project but in the process of making itself. On Bedford'sWhat I Made website, he even shares Six Cool Coffee Shop Crafts for Kidsthat you can try out next time you want to enjoy your coffee and your kids are making that difficult. I've shared two below - be sure to check out the website and see the rest!


How to Choose Age Appropriate Books for Advanced Readers

How to Choose Age Appropriate Books for Advanced Readers remains the most read post on my blog since I wrote it in 2012. Because of this, I have cleaned up this post, tightened the writing and added in any pertinent information that has come about since it originally ran. When I first started in August of 2008, I was scrambling for content, finding my purpose and my voice and not always doing my best writing. How to Choose Age Appropriate Books for Advanced Readers was one of the first articles I wrote and, as a bookseller and a book reviewer, and now as an elementary school librarian where I have gone from working with kids reading well beyond their grade level to kids reading well below, this philosophy remains my organizing principle and central focus when reading and recommending books to parents and children. 

In the interest of my mission and the attention this article continues to receive, I have updated and expanded this article and included a guide to using …

POP-UP: Everything You Need to Know to Create Your Own Pop-Up Book, paper engineering by Ruth Wickings, illustrations by Frances Castle RL: All ages

POP-UP:  Everything You Need to Know to Create Your Own Pop-Up Book with paper engineering by Ruth Wickings and illustrations by Frances Castle is THE COOLEST BOOK EVER!!!  I know that I haven't dedicated much time to pop-up books here, but they have always held a special place in my heart, and the phrase "paper engineering" is a favorite of mine. Although I didn't know what it was at the time, I did go through a paper engineering phase when I was ten or so. I would sneak off to the back of the classroom during independent work periods and go to town on the construction paper and glue and make these little free-standing dioramas. A huge fan of The Muppet Show (the original), I reconstructed the all-baby orchestra from an episode, drawing and coloring each baby and his/her instrument then gluing them onto a 3D orchestra section I had crafted out of brown construction paper.  I also made a 3D version of Snidely Whiplash throwing Nell off a cliff with Dudley Do-Right wa…