harriet

Take Your Time: A Tale of Harriet, the Galapagos Tortoise by Eva Furrow and Donna Jo Napoli and illustrated by Laurel Molk

This picture book uses the real Harriet, a Galapagos tortoise who lived to be 175 years old, as the inspiration for the main character. Harriet lives in the Galapagos Islands and is happy and content with her life and herself. Other residents of the island, including lizards and birds, tell Harriet that she is too slow and is missing out on excitement. This makes Harriet curious and she decides to venture out and see the world. In a journey that spans an entire year, she swims in the sea to another island where she meets penguins and other inhabitants of the island and then swims back. Along the way, she is delighted by all the creatures she sees in the sea and meets on land. On her return journey, a group of dolphins give her a ride. At first, she enjoys going fast through the water, but the wind and the spray are too much for her; she enjoys her leisurely pace better. In the end, Harriet enjoyed her journey, but she takes pleasure in her life at her own pace and is satisfied with it. The reader can see peace and contentment in her facial expressions. She is a wise and contemplative character. This is a simple and sweet story that emphasizes how we are all different and that is okay – we can all choose our own ways. It also emphasizes appreciating the wonder and beauty of the world, taking time to savor your experiences. With colorful illustrations of Galapagos wildlife and the sky and sea that underscore Harriet’s appreciation of the beauty of the world around her.

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