Grandpa Julius and the Green Sea Turtles tells the story of a young girl and her adventurous grandpa.
Emma’s grandpa, Julius, moves around the world promoting animal welfare. One summer, Emma visits him at his new home in a lighthouse. She spends lots of time listening to his stories and enjoying the beautiful scenery. Late one night, Grandpa Julius wakes Emma and shows her a sea turtle nesting. Together, they protect the eggs for nearly two months, learning about sea turtles along the way. When the eggs finally hatch, Emma helps guard the baby turtles in their journey to the sea.
Although the premise will appeal to young readers interested in sea life, 20 pages go by—fully half of the book—before turtles are introduced. During this time, readers hear about Emma’s days exploring the lighthouse, playing in the sand, and spending time with her grandpa, none of which have direct bearing on the eventual turtle rescue. Readers also hear about Grandpa Julius’s sailor past, and ample time is spent on the lighthouse and its role in protecting ships. Again, most of this doesn’t meaningfully influence the plot.
Readers will enjoy the story’s escapism and the book’s colorful and contemporary illustrations. But the book leans heavily on exposition, and young readers may grow bored with the long descriptions and red herrings that come before the twist—that Grandpa Julius is stationed at the lighthouse to protect turtles as well as sailors—is ever introduced.
Although they’ll find an appealing idea here, many readers will feel compelled to skip the first half of the book in order to find the heart of the story.
Also available in hardcover and ebook.