Saviour Pirotta and Nilesh Mistry
The conservation message in this story is even more pertinent now than when the book was first published about 25 years back.
Essentially it’s a look at the breeding process of Japanese loggerhead turtles, but it’s much more too.
Taro is firm friends with Jiro-San whom in response to his sister calling the man weird, the boy says is “old and wise and full of wonderful secrets.” The two spend a lot of time on the beach where Tiro has already learned both how to care for some of the sea creatures and how to be mindful and watch what’s happening in the rockpools.
Now Jiro-San is often to be seen sweeping the rubbish and broken glass from the beach or sitting on a rock watching and listening and one day that is how Taro finds him. He’s preparing for the return of his “old friends”, Jiro-San explains to the boy.
Having spent the following day together sweeping the beach and placing the rubbish in Jiro-San’s cart, he invites Taro to meet him that evening by the big rock. He does, but that’s not when they see the particular friends the old man has been talking about.
That happens a few days later, when accompanied by his somewhat reluctant sister, Taro heads off to the usual meeting spot. Suddenly something emerges from the water: it’s a mother turtle, come to lay her eggs on the beach, which she does before heading back to the sea to let the other turtles know the beach is safe. The following evening a band of female turtles arrive and lay their eggs in holes on the sandy shore.
Some weeks later Jiro-San and the two children observe the nocturnal emergence of hundreds of baby sea turtles and see them scuttling down to the sea.
Nilesh Mistry’s gorgeous blue, yellow and lavender-hued scenes show these events and create a sense of calm and of wonder that will be shared by children who read or listen to Saviour Pirotta’s perfectly paced tale with its important messages about caring for the environment, mindfulness, patience and being open-minded about people.
(There’s additional information about saving sea turtles at the end of the book.)