Book review: The Tortoise and the Soldier, by Michael Foreman

Foreman, Michael. The Tortoise and the Soldier: A Story of Courage and Friendship in World War I. Holt, 2015. $16.99. 128p. 9781627791731. Ages 9-12. P7Q9

Foreman TortoiseExcitement and mystery will invite readers in this novel illustrated by the author. Based on an actual event, Foreman’s story features Henry Friston, a World War I veteran, who lived in Foreman’s home town with Ali Pasha, his tortoise. The protagonist, Trey, training to be a journalist, interviews Friston about his experiences in the Royal Navy during the war when he found Ali Pasha in a crater during the Battle of Gallipoli and smuggled him on board ship before taking him back to England. Watercolors throughout the book vary from whimsical to dramatic as Foreman shows the hard work and terror combined with Friston’s desire to see the world. Photos in the end papers and copies of newspaper articles about Friston and Ali Pasha enhance the accounts. This book would make a great read-aloud. Award-winner Foreman has written books for young people during the past half century.

April 2016 review by Nel Ward.

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