Old Turtle

by Douglas Wood

Hardcover, 2007



All of nature argues about the forms of God, so people are sent as a reminder of all that God is, although they do not seem to understand the message themselves.


(93 ratings; 4.1)

User reviews

LibraryThing member tripleblessings
Old Turtle and the other animals are here on earth before the first people, and they argue about what God is like. Old Turtle resolves the dispute, teaches about God, and tells of the people who are coming. "The people begin to argue about who knew God and who did not, and where God was, and where
Show More
God was not... and often the people misused their powers, and hurt one another... and they hurt the earth." Once again Old Turtle stops the quarrel, teaches about God, and the people begin to listen and to understand. "And Old Turtle smiled. And so did God."
Beautiful watercolour illustrations by Cheng-Khee Chee.
Show Less
LibraryThing member luckybeans
I am sure many of you are familiar with this book, but it certainly deserves a mention. I shy away from most books that deal with God, but this one deals with the concept of a loving creator with grace and gentle dignity. It is not cloying or judgemental or idealised. My children respond to it, and
Show More
I like the fact that it is non-denominational and inspires a lot of discussion and thoughtful questions about not only God, but the nature of people and the whole of creation. The illustrations are incomparable as well.
Show Less
LibraryThing member mjperry
A wonderful children's book to help teach values and compassion.
LibraryThing member annbenbenek
A beautiful folktale about all of nature looking for God and claiming Him to be like them. The breeze: "He is a wind who in never still."; the mountain: "god is a snowy peak, high above the clouds." This leads to a great argument that only the Old Turtle, and his wisdom can quiet. He tells of the
Show More
coming of a new race ... the people. The story then goes on to speak of how the people forgot where God was, arguing amongst themselves, and they end up destroying the earth. Then a large voice speaks; this time the elements of nature no longer claim God to be only like them, but remind the people that he is everywhere: "The voice seemed to come from the mountain who rumbled 'Sometimes I see God swimming, in the dark blue depths of the sea.' " ... and the people finally listen and remember.

Along with a beautiful story, the watercolor illustrations enhance to tale.

I will use this book in my folklore unit as an example of a folktale ... when a culture uses nature/animals/people to teach a lesson and about the values of that culture.
Show Less
LibraryThing member coresonk
A great story about compromise and finding peace between people and the Earth. When the mountains, valleys, rivers, and animals begin to argue about God, Old turtle helps them to understand that God is everywhere and is everything. When People come to Earth and begin to fight as well, Old Turtle
Show More
helps them understand how to live in peace with each other and the rest of the world. This is a great book to use when teaching conflict management, discussing peace and war, and for a good folktales unit.
Show Less
LibraryThing member the_awesome_opossum
Old Turtle is a gorgeous watercolor picture book that's meant at least as much for adults as for children. In pre-human times, an argument begins among the animals over what God is like: higher than the mountains, more sturdy than the rock, farther and brighter than the stars, yet closer to the
Show More
earth than the ants. Divisions occur when every being claims the imago dei only for him or herself, thereby excluding others' experiences of the divine. So Old Turtle offers this resolution: "God is all that we dream of, and all that we seek, all that we come from and all that we can find." But the truest expression of God comes not with our own realization of the imago dei within ourselves, but when we see it in one another and in all of creation.
Show Less
LibraryThing member satyridae
This dyed-in-the-wool atheist found Old Turtle preachy, treacly, and heavy-handed. The illustrations are nicely done, though.
LibraryThing member dukefan86
Although this book has won numerous awards, I just didn't make a connection with it. I'm a little surprised.
LibraryThing member kacieholt
The story starts out with the animals and elements arguing over where god lives. They all felt that god live within their special attributes. Until Old Turtle spoke up, and told them that god lives within all of them, that “God Is.” Old Turtle told them to remember this because soon a new
Show More
family of beings will inhabit the earth. And then the humans came, and they forgot and got in arguments themselves about where, and who god is. Until one day the animals and elements spoke up in the same way that Old Turtle did, and pointed out that they saw god in each other, and after that the people did too.
Show Less
LibraryThing member slpwhitehead
This is a must read for children and adults. It's a wonderful book on two levels--the message and the water colors.
LibraryThing member slpwhitehead
This is a must read for children and adults. It's a wonderful book on two levels--the message and the water colors.
LibraryThing member wichitafriendsschool
In this story, the world begins as a beautiful place, filled with luscious trees and colorful plants and flowers, stuffed with a wide variety of strange and exotic creatures. They begin talking, then discussing, then arguing over who God is. Before they come to blows, Old Turtle offers her wisdom
Show More
and view of the future. There is peace until God adds people to the earthly creatures, and they (we) go through the same argument - whose definition of God is the accurate or better one? The people argue and hurt each other. Finally, Old Turtle comes to the rescue again.
Show Less
LibraryThing member MeaghanRyan
I found this book very interesting; it was about the concept of God without being any specific religion. In the story, all of nature is arguing about the forces of God, so they are sent a reminder that “God” is all of nature. I appreciated the sentiment of the story and the nature-based
Show More
spirituality, though I did wonder about applications of this kind of book in a classroom setting.
Show Less
LibraryThing member uufnn
Douglas Wood touched the hearts of readers everywhere with his first book, Old Turtle, the much-loved inspirational classic. He is the author of more than thirty books, including several New York Times bestsellers. An accomplished songwriter, musician, and wilderness guide, Douglas makes his home
Show More
in a cabin in the woods in Minnesota. Visit him online at douglaswood.com.

Cheng-Khee Chee is a signature member of the American Watercolor Society. He has exhibited his works throughout the United States and China, and has been honored with more than sixty national awards, including the American Watercolor Society's Silver Medal of Honor. Cheng-Khee Chee and his family live in Duluth, Minnesota, where he is an Associate Professor Emeritus at the University of Minnesota.
Show Less
LibraryThing member bookwren
Who can resist a story that begins “Once, long, long ago … yet somehow, not so very long …”? Would it not be wonderful if “… all the beings of the world could speak … and understand one another …”?

Beautiful, peaceful … until the argument.

It is the quiet one who speaks the
Show More
wisest words. Old Turtle, the quiet one, who knows how to stop the argument.

We need a quiet one today.

A perfect melding of story and art, for all ages and all people. Do not miss this one.
Show Less


Scholastic Press (2007), Edition: 7th Print, 56 pages

Original publication date





0439309085 / 9780439309080


Original language

Page: 0.1346 seconds