Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “The Box Turtle” as Want to Read:
The Box Turtle
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating
Open Preview

The Box Turtle

4.21  ·  Rating details ·  596 ratings  ·  121 reviews
Terrance the turtle was born without a shell, so he uses a cardboard box instead. Terrance loves his box. It keeps him dry on soggy days, safe from snooping strangers, and is big enough to cozy up with a friend. But when another turtle points out that Terrance's shell is, well, weird, he begins to wonder whether there might be a better shell out there...

Eventually, and thr
Hardcover, 40 pages
Published February 11th 2020 by Dial Books
More Details... Edit Details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.

Reader Q&A

To ask other readers questions about The Box Turtle, please sign up.

Be the first to ask a question about The Box Turtle

Community Reviews

Showing 1-30
Average rating 4.21  · 
Rating details
 ·  596 ratings  ·  121 reviews

More filters
Sort order
Start your review of The Box Turtle
Jul 02, 2020 rated it it was amazing
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Nov 12, 2019 rated it it was amazing
After Terrance, a turtle, is born without a shell, his parents improvise by dressing him in a cardboard box. It’s the perfect substitute—it keeps him out of the rain, gives him a place to hide, and it’s even big enough to invite a friend over. However, when another turtle calls his box weird, Terrance sets off to find a better shell … But what happens when he discovers he misses his box?

Author Vanessa Roeder has taken a basic exploration of self-confidence and shaped it into a downright charming
Feb 25, 2020 rated it really liked it
Check out the hilarious endpapers!
Feb 05, 2021 rated it really liked it
A sweet, gently humorous, and charmingly creative story about accepting (and, eventually, embracing) our differences. Sure, the adult in me wondered how the cardboard box would withstand all those rainstorms -- but mostly I was just cheering for little Terrance as he withstood bullies and challenges and found the truest expression of his inner self.
Jul 10, 2020 rated it really liked it
Shelves: picture-books

“This little box turtle was so much more than just his shell.”

You’ve got to meet Terrance! He’s a sweet hearted box turtle born without a shell. Terrance’s parents find and create a shell just for him though—a cardboard box that fits him perfectly. He loves his box until…he gets picked on for his different looking shell. So Terrance, with his BFF hermit crab at his side, sets off to find a new shell. From mail boxes to lunch boxes—nothing seems to fit his personality. Terrance soon realizes ther
Shaye Miller
Nov 02, 2020 rated it really liked it
What an adorable picture book about a sweet little turtle named Terrance who was born without a shell. Instead, he uses a cardboard box. However, after he’s teased about his box, he goes on a mission to find a new shell. In the end, he cycles back to his original “shell” as he learns that he perfect from the beginning. Great discussions will be had about opinions and social/peer pressure. The precious artwork was created with Prismacolor pencils, acrylic paint, and a boxful of digital tricks.

Abby Johnson
A nominee for the 2021 Indiana Early Literacy Firefly Award, this cute picture book about a turtle born without a shell who creates his own shell is a sweet celebration of accepting individual differences. My favorite moment in the illustrations is when Terrance's hermit crab friend outgrows his shell and crawls into a bandaid box. :) Sweet, cute, and funny. ...more
Aug 08, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Terrance the turtle hatched without a shell-- so his parents fastened him a box for a shell! When the other turtles think it's weird, Terrance becomes dismayed, and decides to look for a new one with the help of his friend, Hermit Crab, but nothing else works just quite as well. On his journey, Terrance learns there's more to him than just his shell, and that he doesn't need to fit in anyone else's box! ...more
Deb (Readerbuzz) Nance
Terrance the turtle is born without a shell. His parents give him a box to wear, and all is well until others make fun of it. Terrance tries other potential shells (with some fun results) but none of the shells really work for him, and so he returns to his box and makes it just like he wants.

There’s a lot more to this little book than just a simple story about a turtle. And it’s lots of fun, too.
Jan 11, 2021 rated it really liked it
So. Stinking. Cute.
Jul 29, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I totally judged this book by its cover...because it's adorable! Look at the cute turtle! It's also a sweet story about embracing your differences. A little simplistic, but sweet. And the art is precious. ...more
Mar 08, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: andrew
This book was a great book for any child who worries about what others see. That is not important, it is what is on the inside that counts.
Meredith Ann
Feb 27, 2020 rated it really liked it
A really sweet picture book about trying on new identities, finding yourself, and learning to love who you are.
Feb 27, 2020 rated it liked it
Shelves: picture-book
Cute but all I could think was how stinky the box shell would be after sitting in the garbage, and how easy it is to find another box. Maybe it's hard for turtles? ...more
Laney Anne
Oct 26, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: books
This is one of my favorite recent kids books. The turtle was born without a shell and so his parents gave him a box for a shell. Of course, the turtle gets made fun of for his box shell. He then goes on to find out how to love himself the way he is. This is a great story to discuss bullying in class and how to be happy with yourself even if you are a little different.
Sep 28, 2020 rated it liked it
The Box Turtle by Vanessa Roeder is cute as heck, but a little mushy in terms of message and turtle anatomy.

According to an author interview, the idea of a story about box turtle where it had a box instead of a shell was her daughter's. The same interview gives intended themes of "finding confidence in your own skin" and "embracing the differences in ourselves and in others."

Interview here:

Box turtle shells are an integral part of their skeletons, unlike
Jun 05, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Not a particularly unique message (acceptance of oneself, being unique, support from friends and family) but still an adorable execution. Tiny turtle bum! Cracked me up every time I saw his little pink cheeks! And I loved his friends the hermit crab and the raccoon. Might be a little long for my younger crowd, but my older storytime bunch would love it too. A great one for turtles, friends, or being unique (would be fun to pair with other "unique animal" stories, like Tacky the Penguin or Hilda ...more
Cindy Mitchell *Kiss the Book*
The Box Turtle by Vanessa Roeder. PICTURE BOOK. Dial Books (Penguin Random House), 2020. $18. 9780735230507



A darling turtle is born with no shell. His parents find him a box that fits just right as his make-do shell. He loves this shell until other turtles start to comment on it and he goes on a search for a different shell. Eventually he finds his old box and fixes it up just right.

This book has a great message about looking differe
Villain E
Dec 11, 2020 rated it liked it
Shelves: picture-books
I have a pet peeve about the cartoon trope of turtles out of their shells. Their shells are part of their skeletons! It doesn't work that way! It's one thing when it's a gag, it's another thing when it's the main part of the story. So, I was not predisposed to liking this book. So take this with as many grains of salt as you like.

A turtle is born without a shell. So his parents give him a cardboard box. Which is fine for awhile, but when he's old enough to meet other kid turtles, they make fun o
Jun 25, 2020 rated it liked it
Shelves: picture-books
This turtle was born without a shell. Rather than make a fuss, the parents find a shell for him. It's a cardboard box that protects Terrance and lets him explore his world. Unfortunately, other turtles tease him so he tries to find a different shell. After a lot of trial and error with his friends, he decides the box is the perfect shell for him. They fix it up special and he ignores the other turtles.
Great book to share about believing in yourself and being true to who you are.
Don't miss the il
May 04, 2020 rated it really liked it
Shelves: picture-books
When he was born, Terrance came out without a shell. So his parents gave him a box instead. Terrance loved his box shell. It fit just right, kept him dry, safe and protected. He could even share it with his best friend, a hermit crab. But when Terrance met some other turtles, they mocked his box. So he set out to find a better shell option. He tried all sorts of new “shell” like mail boxes, window boxes, a jack-in-the-box, a boom box, and even a treasure chest, but nothing worked. When his best ...more
Nov 04, 2020 rated it really liked it
When is a box turtle not a box turtle? When he’s born without his ‘box’!
Can he truly be a box turtle without his box?
What’s a young, shell-less turtle to do?

Terrance, the shell-less box turtle, experiences a variety of emotions but perseveres through the ups and downs as he tries on a variety of possible shells. After discovering that each one has its own problems - a boom box was a little too loud; a pirate’s chest was a little too dangerous - he finally realizes that “...this little box tur
Juliana Lee
Terrance was born a little different, he didn't have a shell. His parents found a box for him to wear and he was happy with it until he was called 'weird' by a group of other turtles. Suddenly his box seemed too boring, so he abandoned it and went to look for something else. With his friends Hermit Crab and Raccoon, Terrance tried out a mailbox, a hat box, even a jack in the box, and many more, but none of them was just right. With his friends he found his old box and fixed it up, decorated it, ...more
May 04, 2020 rated it it was amazing
His face alone from the cover had me falling in love with the Box Turtle! This book is a marvelous story to talk about being different, making do with what you have, friendship, resilience, and trying new things. I can see returning to this book many times in a school year to reinforce a point we are learning about or show in writing how a few words can tell a story eloquently, we don't need to write 8 pages to make a point. There have been some exceptional "turtle" books lately, Truman and Alfi ...more
“In that moment, the hermit crab showed what it mean to be a friend.”

Terrence is born without a shell, so his parents give him one. It’s a little boxy, but Terrence loves his makeshift shell until the day another turtle says the shell is weird. Terrence throws off the shell and goes in search of another one, but nothing seems to work. Everything looks weird. That’s when his friend, hermit crab, steps up and gives Terrance his shell. “The little crustacean was so much more than just a shell.” And
Christine Turner
An irresistibly cute story about finding the confidence to be yourself, starring a turtle in search of the perfect shell. Terrance the turtle was born without a shell, so he uses a cardboard box instead. Terrance loves his box. It keeps him dry on soggy days, safe from snooping strangers, and is big enough to cozy up with a friend. But when another turtle points out that Terrance's shell is, well, weird, he begins to wonder whether there might be a better shell out there...Eventually, and throug ...more
Westminster Library
What a sweet and endearing story about courage, perseverance and fitting in! The illustrations are whimsical and fun to peruse and add a lot to the story. I love the moral of this story as well. There are many wonderful life lessons to share and learn from. A fabulous read a loud as a family.

Find The Box Turtle at the Westminster Public Library today!

And if you are in search of new books to read, try our services, What Do I Read Next. Our library staff are standing by to create a personalized r
Jan 06, 2021 rated it liked it
Shelves: picture-book
Cute little picture book about being more than just your outer appearance.

When Terrance the turtle's cardboard box shell is made fun of by other turtles, he sets off to find a new, perfect shell. But he finds out (with a little help from his hermit crab friend) that it's important to look at what's INSIDE the box rather than what's outside.

Three stars because although the book was cute with a good message, it just didn't "wow" me or strike me as a book I'd like to read again. Very cute though!
Korie Truitt
Jun 12, 2020 rated it it was amazing
terrance the turtle is born without a shell; he was always so happy and confident in the box that his parents gave him until the others made him insecure about his box. He goes on an adventure to find a new shell that would be perfect for him and meets some friends along the way. I think this book is so good for students because it is not only a great book but it also helps them realize that we all have differences and different lives but we can make the beauty in all of it.
Taryn Strong
Sep 09, 2020 rated it it was amazing
I absolutely loved this story about a brave little turtle born without a shell! When Terrance was born his parents gave him a box as he did not have a shell. The other turtles laughed at him for having a box as a shell, because it was weird. Terrance went on a journey to find a new shell. After a long long search he realizes his old shell was the best of the best. He didn't need a new shell because he was already enough as he is! What a heartfelt story with great illustrations! ...more
« previous 1 3 4 next »
There are no discussion topics on this book yet. Be the first to start one »

Readers also enjoyed

  • Snail Crossing
  • No More Naps!: A Story for When You're Wide-Awake and Definitely NOT Tired
  • Tomorrow I'll Be Kind
  • A Polar Bear in the Snow
  • I Found A Kitty
  • In a Jar
  • The Paper Kingdom
  • Hike
  • Old Rock (Is Not Boring)
  • Swashby and the Sea
  • The Bug Girl: A True Story
  • On Account of the Gum
  • Lift
  • Don't Feed the Coos!
  • Evelyn del Rey Is Moving Away
  • Boxitects
  • See the Cat: Three Stories About a Dog
  • Fire Truck vs. Dragon
See similar books…

News & Interviews

When it comes to the romance genre, second books can be a bit like second dates, can't they? You've had that great initial meet-cute with...
38 likes · 2 comments
No trivia or quizzes yet. Add some now »