Starring a wise tortoise and a competitive collection of booby birds from the Galapagos Islands, Lonesome George is a rhyming picture book celebrating humility and the wisdom of elders.
Lonely George is the only tortoise still living on the Galapagos Islands. His would be a sad existence if it weren’t for Fred, a flamboyant and entertaining finch who loves the old tortoise as if they were brothers. The other inhabitants of the islands also revere the tortoise because of his mystical, mysterious and loving nature. He happily shares his ancient wisdom to help others understand themselves and the world they live in. When the neighboring booby birds – famed for their remarkable diving skill – hold a diving competition, George teaches the winning teen bird how to nurture his gift without becoming a braggart and know-it-all.
Author Rachel Blodgett has created a quirky collection of characters – from charming old George and his happy companion Fred, to Albert, the cocky young booby bird. Together the friends make appealing advocates for Blodgett’s message of tolerance and cross-generational friendship.
The book has some drawbacks, however. While Glenn Blodgett’s illustrations contain some charming details — including Fred’s on-trend wicker fedora and George’s gentle eyes — more often than not his pictures are flat and static and do little to move the story forward in playful and inventive ways. More troubling in a book intended for young and emerging readers, Lonesome George is riddled with errors of punctuation, grammar and word usage (which appears to be the result of the author straining for rhymes). Fred “twiddled his wings”; birds “chattered their beaks” and booby birds “dive with prompt agility.” The combined effect lends a confused air to the story.
As a result, Lonesome George would require much revision before it could be recommended as a viable picture book for children.