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The Foolish Tortoise

4.10  ·  Rating details ·  2,205 ratings  ·  105 reviews
The Foolish Tortoise sheds his shell after deciding that he needs to move through the world more quickly. But, after a few scary encounters, he rediscovers the value of going slow and safe. Full-color illustrations.
Board Book, 24 pages
Published October 1st 1998 by Little Simon (first published 1985)
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Average rating 4.10  · 
Rating details
 ·  2,205 ratings  ·  105 reviews

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Apr 04, 2010 rated it it was ok
Shelves: with-holden
I'm iffy on the message here. On the one hand, this is clearly a book that's saying: "Hey the grass is always greener until you're standing on it..." (Which is a fine message.) And on the other hand, they also seem to be saying "Don't bother trying to change or take risks because you'll only fail and be disappointed." And I can't really get behind that. Plus, the rhyme scheme isn't even that good. ...more
Josie Panidou
Oct 19, 2017 rated it really liked it
The story of an impatient tortoise who's bored of being slowed down by his heavy shell so he discards it in the hope it'll make him faster. It does, but without it, he no longer feels safe. Poor little tortoise has a journey of self discovery and it leads him back to his shell which he happily climbs back into. This story has good rhythm and rhyme with lovely illustrations by Eric Carle. ...more
Alexa Maring
This was not may favorite book due to the slightly pessimistic attitude the tortoise had throughout the story, but I still enjoyed the pictures illustrated by Eric Carle using his signature layering style. This book can be used as a picture walk book. Students can predict what the sequence and events will be in the story. They can also use the illustrations to infer the attitude or emotion of the turtle throughout the story.
Jan 15, 2020 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: parents reading with their children
This is a funny story that shows that the grass is not always greener on the other side. The tortoise in this tale comes to regret his decision to ditch his shell.

The narrative is good, and Mr. Carle's illustrations are striking and very colorful.
May 01, 2018 rated it really liked it
I was so memorized by the colors used in this story the first time I read it! I love the colors Eric Carle uses in all of his illustrations and this story especially seemed to be so vibrant. I enjoyed the story line of the "Foolish Tortoise" who was tired of being slow and what he does to change that. I think that young children would find this story to be intriguing as they see how the tortoise feels with and without his shell. ...more
This 1985 book is being released as a lap-size board book. THE FOOLISH TORTOISE follows a unhappy tortoise as he makes his decision to take off his shell so he can be faster. He longs to run like the horses and dogs that he sees, but once he gets out and about without his shell, he realizes how dangerous the world can be. He sees snakes and birds that will be able to eat him. The sun makes him hot and the rain makes him wet. Finally, after the wind makes him cold, he decides that he is ready to ...more
Whitney Strickland
Apr 07, 2011 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: rhyming, nap-time
This is probably one of my favorite books. It is about a tortoise that wants to be faster so he removes his shells and sets out for the day. Not having his shell made him a little faster but it was much scarier being without it. This story has a nice message and the illustrations by Eric Carle are fantastic. The flow of the story is great because it rhymes and children love to hear it read aloud.
Inna Nako
Grade K-1, Characteristics and basic needs of animals, Shelter of animal (specifically turtles)

-book about the tortoise trying to be like other animals
-at end, the best way to go is to be yourself, be unique
-can be incorporated in a lesson about tortoises (especially about their shells, since that is mostly what the story is about), many children might not even know what a tortoise is, so new vocabulary will also be introduced
Apr 21, 2012 rated it liked it
This book is great for students in Pre-K to 3rd grade. I think that this book can be used to teach students the importance of the shell of some animals. Why do you think turtles live in shells? I would use this book in the engage portion of a 5E lesson plan and ask students questions such as the one asked above. Eric Carle illustrates the potential danger that the turtle could get into without his shell.
Alicia Evans
This book documents the story of a tortoise that wants to go out into the world and explore without his shell. He removes his shell and thus runs into multiple problems and adventures. This book is illustrated by Eric Carle and he brings his personality into the book in a way that readers will enjoy. I thought it was a beautiful book visually, but I wasn't quite sure what the message of the book was supposed to be and I found that disappointing. ...more
Clairissa D
This book is about a turtle this dislikes his shell so he decides to take it off. After he takes off his shell he is encountered by many dangerous situations, some animals try to eat him,The sun is too hot for him to bare,and then it gradually becomes cold as it begins to get dark.After going through these things he decides that it is better to be in his shell rather than outside of it. I would use this text to discuss rhyming words with my students.
Tasia Sandlin
Jun 07, 2019 rated it it was amazing
This story is about a tortoise who thought he would be better off without his shell only to discover that he needs it. This cute but short story was cute and I enjoyed reading it. I loved the pictures just like any other Eric Carle illustrated story. I would use this in the classroom as a read aloud and discuss with children why the tortoise took off his shell and why he should not have done that.
Cassandra Roach
Jul 16, 2009 rated it really liked it
Shelves: books-for-kids
This is one of the newest books that I bought for my 1 year old son. Even though there are more words to this book than some of his other books, he listed to each page and really enjoys reading this story. The pictures are nice and colorful and the story is good. I am sure that this will be worked into our nighttime story rotation soon with his other favorites!
Jan 23, 2011 rated it liked it
Animals, Eric Carle, being content, different houses.

The tortoise is tired of being slowed down because of his shell. When he is able to shed his shell, he realizes that maybe have a shell was safer and warmer. After spending the entire day without his home, he returns to it, happily content and ready for bed.
April Castle
Apr 19, 2011 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: picture-book
The asventure of the tortoise without his shell. He thought he would be faster and better, but he found out he missed his shell and protection. The theme is you don't realize everything you have got until you try out all the wrong things. Be proud of who you are, because everybody is unique and special in there own ways. Great book for students and to teach them the theme. ...more
Katie Williams
A story about a tortoise who wants to be more than who he is, but realizes he can be no one else but himself. A cute story to read to kids when discussing the importance of being yourself and respecting others. It's also written in a rhyming scheme, so it will be somewhat easy for beginning readers. A good collection for the classroom library. ...more
Sep 25, 2011 rated it liked it
Shelves: picture-book, poetry
"The Foolish Tortoise" is a cute rhythmic book about a tortoise who wants to move faster. The Tortoise takes off his shell, but soon finds out he has no protection. He realizes what he has done is wrong. I would use this book to help teach my students not to be foolish. I hope it would show them not to take things for granite. ...more
Shelly Koressel
This poor little turtle takes off his shell to try to get through life a little faster. Then he realizes that he would be better off, taking it slow and being who he is. Good book about teaching children to make wise choices and to be happy with who you are. Good for 1st grade down to preschool age.
Kathryn Joyce
Apr 04, 2012 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: encouragment, home
This books shows how sometimes people, or a tortoise, doesn't realize what they have until it is gone. It would be a great book to teach loving yourself and encouragement. The book explains the journey a tortoise has when he decides to let go of his shell. I think students could make text to self connections with it. ...more
Alycia Boyce
This is a cute book about a tortoise who didn't want his shell, but experienced life without his shell and found it worse than having it. This book is great for teaching lessons about being grateful for what you have and a nice book for pointing out rhyming. ...more
Heather Summers
Feb 04, 2011 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: rhyming, morals
I give this book 4 stars mostly because i love Eric Carle illustrations. But this book is also great for teaching patience. There is a moral to the story as well about what i perceive to be good things come to those who wait. There is also a good bit of rhyming in the text.
Mar 25, 2011 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Children and adults of all ages
Shelves: childrens
Eric Carle's illustrations can't be beat, and my 2 year old grandson loved this tale of a tortoise who decides he doesn't want to be constricted by his shell, and wants to run free and fast like other animals. Through a series of misadventures, he learns that being true to oneself is best. ...more
Apr 20, 2011 rated it liked it
This book is about self image. The tortoise is unhappy with himself at first, but then appriciates himself for who he is. This is a good book to share with children and you can talk about why we are made the way we are. You can also look at positive ways to identify yourself.
Oh, foolish turtle. Eric Carle offers an important lesson to be happy with what you have. The story also offers readers the opportunity to learn about being thankful. When stepping out into the unknow (which is okay), you can't forget the things that also keep you safe. There's a difference. ...more
Brittany Lockard
In this book a turtle takes off his shell so that he can speed through life like the other animals but soon realizes that he was better off in his shell. Good book for showing self love and acceptance of who we are and not trying to change to be like other people.
Steve Tetreault
Jun 25, 2017 rated it it was ok
This is NOT a well-designed book for young readers - it's more for someone reading to a youngster, or an older reader looking for something interestingly poetic. ...more
Melinda Christensen
Sep 04, 2019 rated it it was amazing
A silly tortoise decided he was just too slow, so he ditched his wonderful shell. That shell was his protection, which necessitated his having to hide wherever he traveled, because there were all kinds of hungry critters out there. The shell protected tortoise from other elements as well. That day, the sun came out, big and hot, and he had no shade. Another time, he was soaked by a huge thunderstorm, and after that, a windstorm came and nearly froze him to death. He finally decided he needed his ...more
May 14, 2019 rated it liked it
This was a cute story in which a turtle wants to go faster so he leaves his shell behind. The speed is nice, but soon he realizes that his shell gave him protection and shelter and maybe he was better off with it and going slow. I appreciate the lesson that sometimes a burden can actually be helpful. But the science teacher in me was appalled at the idea that turtles can leave their shells like a hermit crab. This is a common misconception and I'd prefer not to propagate it. On the other hand, I ...more
Darin Johnston
Jun 26, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: beginning-reader
This book explores how a tortoise, tired of his shell, shrugs off, then deals with the consequences of his decision. From hornets, to rain, to a snake, the tortoise realizes the error of his ways, and eventually makes his way back to his protection.

5 stars as not only is it a good book, with the idea of natural consequences being put out there, Eric Carle illustrated this book, and adds his own personal flair to the story. A great book to read out loud, then ask the students about choices they'v
Aug 31, 2019 added it
Having read Hecotea now, the tortoise is absolutely foolish for abandoning his shell because how awesome are they inside? (All kidding and graphic novel references aside, the book is a delightful science-forward book about habitats, environments, the food web, and animal development because there's a reason the tortoise has a shell and it takes him abandoning it to realize that he's better off with his shell).

Read in the Eric Carle Museum library on a visit there!
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Richard Buckley is a freelance writer and editor as well as being a chartered accountant.

In addition to his poetry he has written short stories, children's books, and on business and professional subjects.

He worked in New York for five years and has also travelled in North and South America, Central Asia and Europe.

At the time of writing 'The Dutiful Penguin' he was living in Gloucestershire, marr

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