Great Bites For Girls - Jesse And Mr Smith by Jane Goodwin
Published by Penguin Books Australia
Two weeks before Jesse moves to Sydney, she finds a turtle in her backyard. Not just any turtle, ( or Fresh Water Tortoise), this one has Mr Smith written on its shell, plus some numbers but some had rubbed off.
Her neighbour Chris suggests that they feed the little turtle and they set about trying to find the owner.
Jesse searches in the phone book trying to compare the numbers on the turtle. Voila, she’s think she’s found it, but when she gives the number a call, a very stern man does not welcome her news and he slams down the phone.
Jesse’s mum suggest they try the vet, so off they trundle. The vet has no luck either. She suggest they do a letter drop and put some signs in shops. She instructs them on how to care for the turtle, until they find its owner.
Jesse and Chris do a letter drop, but a week goes by and no reply. In the meantime, Jesse grows more and more attached to her new friend Mr Smith while Chris is away at the beach.
When Chris returns, there is still no sign of the owner, so Jesse’s mum suggest they call the Wildlife Sanctuary. The lady tells them to release him into Watson’s creek, so that’s just what they do.
That night, Jesse’s gets a phone call. A girl called Miranda says that Mr Smith is actually Mrs Mith, and the numbers on the shell were the day she got her. Miranda doesn’t let Jesse get a word in, and she says she is coming to get her.
Miranda and her father arrive, and Jesse tries to explain but Miranda won’t have it. She calls Jesse an idiot, and it all spills out that this isn’t the first turtle she has lost. She had several turtles and they all ran away so this time Miranda had tied a rope to Mrs Mith’s leg to keep her from escaping.
Eventually they all agree to go Watson’s creek to search for Mrs Mith. The search proves futile and Miranda gives up and goes back to get her shoes. Jesse lags behind, and suddenly she think she see’s Mrs Mith, but somehow, she stops herself from catching the little turtle. She realises, that Mrs Mith is in a better home now, just like she will be when they move to Sydney.
Another sweet slice of life story, where we see Jesse slowly learn to accept change, as she moves into a new phase of her life. The illustrations are lovely and give us a great sense of how Jesse is reacting to her circumstances along the way. I recommend this for children aged 5-7.
CKT Book Reviewer
Author: Jane Goodwin
Illustrator: Anne James
Title: Great Bites For Girls - Jesse And Mr Smith by Jane Goodwin
Publisher: Penguin Books Australia
Published: January 2014