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Turtles are pretty funky creatures. Despite their weird looks and their lack of personal hygiene, they are surprisingly loved! Did you know that there are at least a thousand children's books pertaining to turtles, according to my recent Amazon search? That's quite a few, for a wrinkly grumpy animal that isn't very cuddly in real life.

The funny thing is, the most popular of the turtle books out there really don't portray turtles looking like turtles at all… in fact, they look more like humans in turtle costumes than actual turtles! These fictional turtle characters take their shells off, walk around on their back two feet, wear clothes, and cook dinners that I would be all about devouring. No crickets or worms in sight!

What if actual aspects of turtles' natural history made it into juvenile fiction more often? We'd have turtles breathing not from their nostrils but from their behind (well, their cloaca, if you want to be technical)… we'd have heartbreaking illustrations of mother turtles digging nests and laying eggs for hours only to come back the next day and find every. egg. eaten by raccoons… or our kids would read an entire 5-chapter intermediate reader book in which the turtle protagonist did nothing but sit on a log in the sun. For 13 hours. The End.

Turtle lives are cray, y’all. And maybe not especially suited to jFiction. But if you can handle the truth, come over to Fontenelle Forest for Hands-on-Habitat on September 16 and bring your little one with you! Hands-on-Habitat starts at 9:30 am and finishes by 11:00.

It is designed for kids 3-5 years of age and the significant adults in their lives. Together you'll discover amazing things about turtles, and through hands-on experience, dramatic play, and maybe even some literature (non-fiction, probably!). The things your child learns will most likely not be forgotten.

Register soon before the spots are filled! Just go to the Hands-on-Habitat registration page to sign up. Don't forget to enter the promo code, just for our Parent Savvy families, so that your visit is free!

I can't wait for Turtle Time with you and your kiddo at Hands-on-Habitat. See you soon!

Lindsay Cooley

from Fontenelle Forest

Lindsay is an environmental educator at Fontenelle Forest in Bellevue. She was born and raised in Omaha, and is happy to be back after spending the past four years interning and working at various nature centers around the country. Lindsay has a background in environmental science, and is passionate about cultivating a love of the natural world in children and adults alike. When she's not cutting out craft materials or taking kids on hikes, Lindsay loves birdi ...

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