The Old Schoolhouse® Product & Curriculum Reviews

With so many products available we often need a little help in making our curriculum choices. The Old Schoolhouse® Magazine family understands because we are in the same boat! Do you need more information on a product before you buy? With over 5,500 products listed in 52 easy-to-use categories, much of the information you need to know is only a click away! Let our reviewer-families help yours.
Do you want to get the word out about your product or service to the homeschool community? Email Tess Hamre and share a little about what you´d like showcased, and we can help with that!

Turtle Summer / Turtles in My Sandbox / Carolina's Story: Sea Turtles Get Sick, Too! Review by Kendra Fletcher

By Mary Alice Monroe / Jennifer Keats Curtis / Donna Rathmell
Sylvan Dell Publishing
976 Houston Northcutt Blvd., Suite 3
Mount Pleasant, SC 29464

One of the most delightful things about homeschooling is the ability to allow students to really delve into the topics that most interest them. I myself have never been much interested in reptiles, but I have a son who has been fascinated by turtles for the better part of his nine years. We look for anything and everything having to do with turtles for this young man, including turtles of the stuffed animal variety and a "turtle crossing" sign that hangs in his room. Funny, isn't it? But the world needs specialists in every field, and who am I to stifle a God-given interest?

Naturally, when Turtle Summer, Turtles in My Sandbox, and Carolina's Story: Sea Turtles Get Sick, Too! came across my desk for review, I immediately handed them to my son, who upon seeing them exclaimed, "Cool!" All three are beautiful hardback books with glossy covers and engaging photographs.

Turtle Summer, written by New York Times bestselling author Mary Alice Monroe, is a journal chronicling a summer of turtle watching. Photos show clear images of turtles laying eggs, of baby turtles hatching, and later of those same turtles crawling across the beach. The author's journaling is detailed without being burdensome, and the text lends itself nicely to a read-aloud time with a parent or older sibling. Many facts about turtles are covered in the book, including information about nesting, turtle rescue, and various other beach creatures. The end of the book also includes several creative activities, making Turtle Summer an excellent choice for a unit study.

Jennifer Keats Curtis has written an appealing story for younger children in Turtles in My Sandbox. The story follows a girl named Maggie who discovers a nest of turtle eggs in her old sandbox just at the edge of the beach. By way of Maggie's experience, elementary students can learn about how turtles nest, hatch, and grow. Emanuel Schongut's watercolor illustrations are particularly lovely. The end of Turtles in My Sandbox also features creative activities for the student to try at home, including large turtle illustrations to color and label.

Carolina's Story: Sea Turtles Get Sick, Too! boasts detailed full-page photographs that help to tell the story of Carolina, a sea turtle that washes up on the beach and is rescued by the Sea Turtle Hospital at the South Carolina Aquarium. For kids who have any interest in animal science, Carolina's Story: Sea Turtles Get Sick, Too! is an excellent visual journal of what marine veterinarians do. Like the other books in this series, Carolina's Story: Sea Turtles Get Sick, Too! includes some interesting activities, such as turtle fun facts and math games.

All in all, this is an excellent trio of books that would make your next turtle unit study memorable and worthwhile.

Product review by Kendra Fletcher, The Old Schoolhouse® Magazine, LLC, June 2007