Kurt Cyrus has done it again with his new book, The Voyage of Turtle Rex. Cyrus travels on the border between fiction and nonfiction successfully with the dramatic story of a giant sea turtle’s adventures growing up in ancient seas.
If you are familiar with Cyrus’ previous award-winning book, Tadpole Rex, you already know about his breathtaking, vibrant illustrations and tightly-crafted rhyme. Although a computer screen does not do them justice, Cyrus has examples of some of the illustrations at his website. How does Cyrus create the stark black lines of varying width that give such depth to each page? He uses a scratchboard technique and adds details like bubbles and a crust of barnacles to make the giant sea turtle come alive.
Not only has Cyrus done his research about the creature, Archelon, itself (he even includes the fact the turtles may sleep under the mud for long periods), but also he obviously spent the time to craft the story to perfection. Showing the contrast in size between the tiny baby turtles on the beach in the beginning, to the adult turtles laying eggs on the same beach at the end, by including the same local dinosaurs for scale in both scenes is pure genius. He also brings the story neatly to present day with a few perfectly-chosen words.
The Voyage of Turtle Rex is a must-have book for your shelf, because it can be used in so many ways. You could pull it out for a poetry unit, a science unit, and for any reader interested in dinosaurs. This book sure to thrill and entrall dinosaur-loving children of all ages.
See an interview with Kurt Cyrus at Miss Rumphius Effect
Growing with Science has related science activities
Reading level: Ages 4-8
Publisher: Harcourt Children’s Books (April 4, 2011)
Book was supplied for review purposes.
Nonfiction Monday is a blogging celebration of nonfiction books for kids. We invite you to join us. For more information and a schedule, stop by the new Nonfiction Monday blog to see who is hosting each week.
This week’s post is at Writing Nonfiction for Children.