Can Isaac keep everyone happy while still finding the time to protect his turtles?
Ten-year-old Isaac is flat out. Helping his mum run a caravan park on the Queensland coast means no time for fun. So when he finds a sea turtle nesting on the beach, he's disappointed that he can't volunteer as a turtle tracker to watch over her eggs and hatchlings. How can he when summer holidays are their busiest time?
To make matters worse, famous travel blogger Eddie Eastwood and his mischievous dog come to stay. Isaac must pull out all the stops because a zero-star review from Eddie would spell disaster for his mum and the park.
Turtle Trackers is available now!
I was inspired to write Turtle Trackers by two separate events. The first was a newspaper article about foxes destroying turtle nests on Stradbroke Island in SE Queensland. The destruction led to members of a local wildlife group taking turns to sleep on the beach to keep the foxes away; a dedicated move indeed. The second part of my inspiration came when my mum and dad convinced me to catch the Tilt Train from Brisbane up to Bundaberg with my eight year old niece to join them on their caravanning holiday. Mum mentioned she’d booked us on a turtle tour, but I didn’t really think too much about it. When we arrived at the caravan park, it was quite run down, a long way from the turtle centre, and very very windy! But Mum and Dad were so thrilled we had joined them, so I muddled in, and we set up camp. The beach was a bit too windy and choppy for swimming, but when we wandered down late that afternoon, we saw a big green turtle waddling up the beach! My dad went nuts with the camera, and we kept our distance, but the turtle didn’t seem to mind that we were there. What really struck me was how wide and distinctive her tracks were – so specific to a turtle rather than any other creature that may have ventured on to the beach. And then of course there was the actual turtle tour! Seeing my niece’s face as we crept along in the dark, hearing her whisper in excitement, and having her small hand cling tightly to mine: it was wonderful. Not to mention the privilege of seeing wild turtle hatchlings poke their heads up out of the sand to discover our world for the very first time!
Samantha Wheeler really does have a wonderful way of blending a real life conservation issue into a story that will appeal to readers.
Isaac is a fabulous kid! Not only is he acting way beyond his years with all that he has to do to help his Mum keep the caravan park running, he is totally passionate about the turtles that nest on the beach near their home, and in particular, the impact that others are having on their well being. You will absolutely get caught up in his enthusiasm, but his passion and eagerness to help does not come without issues! There are strong themes of conservation, but also of friends and family relationships, as Isaac and his mum work through their grief of losing their husband and dad, and trying to find a balance and happiness again in their lives. It is full of fabulous facts and the reader will learn things about turtles that they never knew! A thoroughly enjoyable read for middle primary and above.