Annabel and Turtle is the first in a fun picture book series aimed at children aged from birth to six. The story is set in a delightful imaginary world where Annabel and Turtle go on adventures together and overcome problems that they encounter. Like popular children’s TV animation Sarah and Duck, this picture book series seeks to instil a sense of resilience and determination in children through the magic of imagination.

Annabel is a five year old girl who lives in a treehouse with her best friend, Turtle. Each story sees the couple setting out on simple yet exciting adventures. In Annabel and Turtle, the pair visit the beach, where they collaboratively build an impressive sandcastle city. Turtle cries in disappointment when the waves wash away his sandcastle, and Annabel must do her best to make him feel better.

The world in which Annabel and Turtle live is beautifully conveyed through Mary-Ann Orchard’s illustrations. They are hand drawn in pencil with bright colours that will appeal to children.

The text, carefully crafted by children’s author and educator, Tahnee McShane, provides an excellent opportunity for classroom reading to early readers, with large words incorporated into the text for sounding out. The text is easy and uncomplicated for tired parents to read to their little ones at bedtime. The Annabel and Turtle series addresses themes of empathy, resilience, friendship, problem solving and of daily routine, while not compromising the story.

Both parents and educators are becoming increasingly focused on their role in directly teaching life skills such as empathy and resilience, which makes this new series timely and valuable.

 “The tricky part about teaching empathy to children is that you can’t really teach it. You can only inspire it…If a child can relate to a character or become immersed in a story, she begins to have feelings outside of her own direct realm of experience.” – R.J. Palacio, author of “Wonder.”[1]