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Melvin and the Boy

3.79  ·  Rating details ·  267 Ratings  ·  69 Reviews
When a little boy sees a turtle basking in the sun at the park, he thinks he's found the perfect pet. But when they get home, the boy soon discovers that the only time the turtle comes out of his shell is at bath time. Is it possible that the turtle would be happiest back in the pond? After all, it's always bath time there!

Lauren Castillo's beautiful art gives this gentle
Hardcover, 40 pages
Published July 5th 2011 by Henry Holt and Co. (BYR)
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Aug 25, 2011 rated it really liked it
I have mixed feelings about this story about a boy who desperately wants a pet, and finally feels he finds one his parents cannot say "no" to when he finds a small, quiet, easygoing turtle in the pond at the park.

On the one hand, I really enjoyed the artwork and the storytelling. I feel she conveys the boy's feelings well, and enjoy the cast of various animals included. When the boy brings Melvin home, it's at once humorous and tragic seeing how hard the boy tries to make Melvin a good pet, and
Jun 16, 2011 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: 2011
For many children, a first pet brings with it some of the earliest exposure to responsibility. While kids have minor obligations from an early age, the idea of caring for something that could, you know, die if left unattended makes the first pet a childhood landmark. Perhaps this is why so many children's books have been written on the topic. In the 21st century, the concept has been frequently turned on it's head, with books like Children Make Terrible Pets and A Pet for Petunia as recent examp ...more
Jan 08, 2012 rated it really liked it
Melvin and the Boy by Lauren Castillo is the story of a boy whose parents won't let him have a pet, and whether to keep the turtle he finds in a the city park.

Every animal a boy suggests as a pet is vetoed by his parents. When the little boy sees a turtle basking in the sun at the park, he thinks he’s found the perfect pet. The boy names the turtle Melvin. But when they get home, the boy soon discovers that the only time Melvin comes out of his shell is at bath time. Should the boy keep the turt
Mar 19, 2017 rated it liked it
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Jo Oehrlein
May 16, 2017 rated it liked it
Shelves: picture-books
The boy badly wants a pet, but his parents have a reason that he can't have a dog or a monkey or a bird. They find a turtle in the park and his parents finally say OK.

But, life with a turtle as a pet doesn't live up to expectations. The turtle (Melvin) only seems happy at bathtime.

The boy decides to take the turtle back to the park.

Cool information on turtles at the end of the book.
May 10, 2017 rated it liked it
Shelves: picture-books
A cute boy and his loving parents try having a turtle as a pet. I love the illustrations.

5/10/17 Read with Naomi & Julia.
Feb 25, 2011 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: picture-books
A young boy wants a pet very badly, but his parents always say no. A dog is too big, a monkey too much work, a parrot too noisy. One day, he sees a turtle at the park who is looking at him and follows him. So the boy asks if he can keep it as a pet. His parents agree, and the boy names the turtle Melvin. But back home, Melvin won’t play. He won’t eat. Walking the turtle doesn’t work either. The only time Melvin comes out of his shell is when he takes a bath. The boy can see that Melvin is not ha ...more
Jessica Harrison
Feb 18, 2012 rated it really liked it
Shelves: reviewed, picture
Via Cracking the Cover
When you’re little and don’t have a pet of your own, it seems like everyone else does. That’s how the little boy in “Melvin and the Boy” feels. He wants a dog, but they’re too big, his mom says. A monkey is too much work, his dad says. And a parrot is too noisy, they both say.

It seems all hope is lost until the boy notices a turtle with a fancy shell at the park. The turtle is small and quiet and shouldn’t be too much work, and when the boy asks if he can keep him, Mom and
Stephanie Rudzki
Feb 22, 2014 rated it liked it
This young boy desperately wants a pet of his own just like his other friends in the neighborhood. His parents say a dog is too big, a bird is too noisy, and a monkey is just too much work. One day at the park, the boy spots a turtle in the pond staring at him. He decides that this would be the perfect pet to have because it is not too big, not that much work and definitely not noisy at all. His parents agree to let him keep the turtle and the boys decides to name him Melvin. The boy soon realiz ...more
This book is so simple, and yet so heartwarming and sweet. The boy wants a pet so badly, but all of the pets he suggests are either too big or too much work or too noisy. Everyone else gets to enjoy a pet, it doesn't seem fair. When he finds a turtle at the park, it seems as though he'd be the perfect pet. But it takes great maturity and sensitivity for the boy to see that the turtle isn't really happy. And this little boy is faced with a decision to make. The illustrations do a wonderful job of ...more
Sep 27, 2011 rated it liked it
I thought the illustrations were nice--not run out and show them to everyone nice, but cute and distinctive. The story was about the same, nice, predictable. Personally I dislike many of the books like this, where parents just throw out "too big" "too loud" "too purple." Because it always comes across as arbitrary and never really catches the real reason parents don't want to get a pet. Really parents aren't getting pet dogs because a golden retriever is too big--if the size alone was the issue ...more
Nov 06, 2011 rated it liked it
Although a young boy would love to have a pet of his own, his parents say no to his request for a dog, a monkey, and a bird. During a walk in the nearby park, he spots a turtle and brings it home. But the turtle, named Melvin, is not a happy pet. He spends most of his time hiding inside his shell, and only comes out when it's bath time. The boy realizes that the turtle would be happier back in the park, where he can visit Melvin every day. The acetone transfer illustrations also use markers and ...more
"I don't think Melvin likes it here. I wonder if he misses his friends ..."

A little boy wants a pet desperately, but Mom and Dad always have a reason why he can't have one: too loud, too much work, too big. So when the boy sees a turtle with a yellow spot in the park one day that seems to be looking right at him, he asks his parents if he can take the turtle home. He names him Melvin. No matter how hard he tries, though, he can't get Melvin to come out and stay out of his shell. So, he has to ma
Aug 13, 2011 rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2011
Any book can be improved by the addition of a fact page at the end of the book. I was pleasantly surprised with the turtle facts (and not just basic simple turtle facts, either!), and felt it capped off a pet book nicely. After all, don't kids always seem to bubble over with animal facts when they're making their case for a new pet?

This book has been floated around as a Caldecott contender, and I think it'd be a solid choice, much like I thought A Sick Day for Amos McGee was a solid choice. It j
Deb (Readerbuzz) Nance
A little boy wants a pet, but he lives in the city and his parents say no to every pet he proposes. One day, he sees a turtle with a yellow spot on his shell at the pond in the city. He wants to take the turtle home and his parents agree. But the turtle is not happy at the boy’s house and the boy reluctantly decides to take the turtle back to the pond.

A gentle story about love and sacrifice.

“When I take Melvin outside to meet my friends, he is shy.
He doesn’t even want to meet the other pets.
Aug 24, 2011 rated it really liked it
The granular lines in the illustrations reminded me of the Arnold Lobel books I grew up with (like Giant John--not the same medium but that's the feel). Simple story from the child's point of view. Super extra bonus points for staying in the child's realm of understanding all the way through ("I don't think he likes it here. I wonder if he misses his friends...he isn't having much fun.") rather than all of a sudden displaying an appreciation for habitat and ecosystem and what have you. Very acce ...more
Sep 27, 2015 rated it really liked it
Shelves: fiction
The illustrations of the book are what really grabbed my attention. The pictures were done in colorful pastels. The little boy wanted a pet so bad and his parents finally let him take a turtle home from the park. The turtle is very shy and scared to come out of his shell. The little boy is upset because the turtle will not play with him like everyone else's pets. He finally realizes that he needs to take the turtle back to where he belongs. This is a good lesson to teach students, that it is imp ...more
Aug 08, 2011 rated it liked it
I picked up this book because of the sweet and soft feel of the cover. Also, I love reptiles and seeing the little turtle and boy made the book seem even more promising. And it was a cute story, I liked the illustrations and felt that they added to the story’s sweet countenance. The list of facts at the end was also informative. I would recommend.

*Taken from my book reviews blog:
Sharon Lawler
Mar 05, 2014 rated it really liked it
Melvin thinks he has the perfect pet in a turtle he finds at the park, but turtle is shy and doesn't want to play or listen to stories. He misses his pond. Melvin does the right thing, and returns him to his turtle family with plans to visit often. Big decision for a little boy. The technique used for the artwork, acetone transfer with markers and watercolor, allows for the various textures in the cityscape.
Jul 23, 2016 rated it it was ok
Shelves: pb, pb-calm
The story was quiet and sweet, with a lesson about not being selfish.
Unfortunately, that was overshadowed by the boy's parents allowing his to take home a turtle from the park, keep him, and then release him again. I wish the boy wasn't the only one learning a lesson at the end.
The book also ends with facts about turtles. This would have been a good place to discuss how important it is not to remove animals from their habitats.
Dec 22, 2011 rated it really liked it
Shelves: picture-books
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Dec 31, 2015 rated it really liked it
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Dec 18, 2011 rated it it was amazing
Another book I almost missed this year but didn't thanks to Travis and John's top 20 list. What a beautiful story. A little boy is desperate for a pet. He asks his parents for many different ones and they always answer no. At the park they agree to let him take home a box turtle he names Melvin. The boy quickly realizes this might not be a good idea. Reminds me of the picture book Fireflies I use in mini-lessons on narratives. This will also go into that collection.
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Sep 28, 2015 rated it liked it
This was a cute story about a boy that really wants a pet because everyone else has one but when he gets a turtle he realizes that the turtle doesn't make a very good pet. I think it shows the lesson that 'the grass is always greener on the other side', sometimes you want something so badly, but when you finally get it you realize it's not always the way you thought it would be. It is a very short story geared for younger children with a cute lesson.
Dec 21, 2011 rated it really liked it
Now you all must know, I am biased about this book because I love turtles. They are amazing creatures that have fascinated me since I was the boy's age. But even with that being said, I don't know how anyone cannot enjoy this book. With its soft illustrations reminiscent of older picture books and its pure story about the wants and wisdom of a young boy, it is a story worth sharing.
Allison Parker
Sep 10, 2011 rated it it was ok
A boy believes he has found the perfect pet: a box turtle who lives on the pond in the park. But after he takes Melvin home with him, the boy realizes that a turtle might not enjoy his home as much as he hoped. A nice message about respecting wildlife makes this a great learning tool, especially with endnotes that offer Turtle Facts to the curious reader.
Arthur Pengerbil
Feb 22, 2012 rated it really liked it
Reading Level: PreK- Grade 2

When a young boy sees a turtle basking at the park one day, he knows it will be the PERFECT pet.

But when he gets Melvin home, the turtle doesn't seem to be enjoying himself at all.

How can Melvin be the perfect pet if he isn't happy?

For more book reviews from the HPPL Youth Department, click here.
The illstrations are what I would call old-school, yet still great.
Without giving too much away, the story is cute. At the end it makes you smile, but makes you feel a little depressed.
This book would be great for a child wanting a pet.

AR 3.2
Apr 30, 2012 rated it liked it
Also a sucker for "let nature be" books. This one is actually a better one, IMO because it's simple enough for an introduction for the very young child, but the idea is complex enough for older kids to understand and talk about. And the illustrations are just wonderful!
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Lauren studied illustration at the Maryland Institute College of Art and received her MFA from the School of Visual Arts in New York City. She has written & illustrated over 14 books for children, including the critically acclaimed Melvin and the Boy, The Reader by Amy Hest, Happy Like Soccer by Maribeth Boelts, Buffalo Music by Tracey Fern and What Happens on Wednesdays by Emily Jenkins. Her ...more
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