Milton is a turtle. Unlike other turtles with round or oval shells, Milton has a square shell. One afternoon, and being new to the area, he decides to take a walk to the pond to relax.
Just when Maryann Tatro’s creation thinks he finds the perfect spot, he can’t stay. Not wanting to cause a problem, he goes further up the pond, only to discover that home is the best place to relax.
Milton teaches children the importance of home, learning to love others for their uniqueness and also to extend a hand of friendship. If we judge everyone by how they look, then we are missing out on becoming friends with someone who could bring something very special into our lives.
Children do need to be careful when talking to a stranger, but it doesn’t mean they shouldn’t be nice to everyone to a certain point. Think of the neighbors living around you. How many of them do you really know? Can you even think of their names?
In most cases, I’m guessing you can’t. Maybe it’s because we’re too busy to take the time to just say hi. Instead, we claim personal space and don’t let outsiders in. Such as the case with Milton in his new home.
As much as Milton teaches us to be okay with who we are and that sometime home is the best place to be. He also shows the rest of us how selfish we can be and unfriendly to those new in our area.
I hope children after reading Milton the Square Shell Turtle — or having it read to them, this 24-page picture book being on the cusp of that age group — will be a bit more open to letting new kids and their families fell welcome. That goes for all of us too.