Alfie: (The Turtle That Disappeared)

Alfie: (The Turtle That Disappeared)
Written and Illustrated by Thyra Heder

Publisher’s Summary:
Told from the perspective of both the girl, Nia, and her pet turtle, Alfie, and describes what happens when he disappears on the eve of her seventh birthday to find her a special present.

Primary Source Pairing:
There is a lot to unpack in this special story, told from two perspectives, about being six and turning seven, and wanting to be special for another living thing who is special to you. The first part of the story is told to us by the main human character, Nia, who gets a turtle for her birthday. The second part of the story is told to us by the turtle, Alfie. For this primary source pairing, invite students to talk about their own pets and why they are special in their family. Create a bulletin board where students can bring in and share a picture of their beloved pet. As an extension, create a writing assignment where students are writing from the perspective of their pet as they explore their home.

Alternatively, use a photograph of a box turtle to analyze the creature’s features and discuss the adaptations turtles have for safety and survival.

Questions for Discussion:

  • What do you notice first?
  • Find something small but interesting.
  • What do you notice that you didn’t expect?
  • What do you notice that you can’t explain?
  • What adaptations do turtles have to keep them safe?
  • What turtle adaptation would you like to have for yourself?

Credits: Florida Box Turtle photograph, Wikipedia
Book Cover and Summary: Follett