Myrtle the Purple Turtle: Book Review

Myrtle the Purple Turtle

Do you have a favorite critter from childhood? I do. I’ve loved this adorable creature ever since a pediatrician asked me to draw a picture of a patchwork turtle pillow that sat on the floor of her office waiting room. I was having trouble navigating grief concerning a relative who no longer lived with us. And I was having trouble loving my shell.

Myrtle the Purple Turtle by Cynthia Reyes #loveyourshell book review by wendy l macdonald

Looking back on that unusual request by the pediatrician, I now understand she was employing art therapy to break the ice between my fear and her desire to help me.

I never did tell her the whole story of what was going on in my life; I was too young and naive to understand what was happening around me, and to me. Self-blame and shame kept me silent. But I appreciated her kindness–and gentleness–towards me. And the patchwork turtle I drew for her was only the beginning of a magical relationship I would eventually have with turtles. For years later, I began collecting them after a healing visit with my estranged family member.

But that’s a story for another day.

Myrtle the Purple Turtle by Cynthia Reyes #loveyourshell Myrtle the Purple Turtle by Cynthia Reyes #loveyourshell

Today, I want to share a brand new book with you that’s written by Cynthia Reyes, a Canadian author, former journalist, and former CBC broadcaster. Cynthia and I have been blogging friends ever since I discovered her site through a mutual writing friend. Our friend included a link on her blog to a CBC radio interview regarding Cynthia’s first memoir. After listening to Cynthia being interviewed by Shelagh Rogers regarding the book: A Good Home, I had to buy it.

Both of her memoirs are 5-star reads I didn’t want to put down.

So when I heard Cynthia had written a children’s book about a turtle, I was hooked and eager to buy it. The story behind Myrtle the Purple Turtle is as intriguing as the book itself. Here’s the link to Cynthia’s daughter’s blog post about it: Lauren Reyes Grange

And here’s a wonderful behind the scenes post about the book: Myrtle the Purple Turtle.

And here’s my GoodReads/Amazon review of it:

“When I read Myrtle the Purple Turtle, I was reminded of times when I’ve witnessed others (or myself) being ridiculed for being different from others. The story of Myrtle is empathetic, empowering, and encouraging. The realistic resolution and happy ending make it a perfect read for parent and child, and an ideal resource for homeschoolers, elementary school teachers, and public libraries for facilitating tolerance and acceptance between children of different cultural back grounds.

I’ve given it five stars because it’s easy to read—yet poignant—and because the delightful illustrations, by Jo Robinson, add a warmth to the book that put it into what I suspect will be an award-winning category. I’m looking forward to reading it to my first grandchild.

I wish all children received the encouragement to love their shell. Myrtle the Purple Turtle is one small way to make a big step towards this desire.”

Here’s a sample of my own turtle collection:

Myrtle the Purple Turtle by Cynthia Reyes #loveyourshell book review by wendy l macdonald


Have you ever struggled with loving your shell? I’m nosy-to-know.

Congratulations, dear Cynthia; I can’t wait until I have a grandchild old enough for me to read this lovely book to. <3

#LoveYourShell blessings ~ Wendy

46 thoughts on “Myrtle the Purple Turtle: Book Review

    1. Karen, I’m happy to hear I’m not alone in collecting turtles. 🙂 You’ll enjoy reading this book together with your granddaughter. It provides an opportunity to discuss the many ways we’re all different and yet still the same in our need to accept and love our shells, accept and love the shells of others, and be loved and accepted by our circle of friends and family. <3

  1. Sounds like a lovely read. I would be hard-pressed to pick a favorite critter from my childhood—but I do love the Saggy Baggy Elephant from my children’s read-to-me years 🙂

    1. Thank you, Granonine. A radio interviewer with our public broadcaster in Canada asked me: “Why a purple turtle?” I said: “Because Lauren’s favourite colour was purple, and I loved turtles!” Glad to hear about the Saggy Baggy Elephant.

  2. Hello WendyMac. What’s the appropriate age for this book? I’d be interested in it for a particular grandson, but he is 12, and it sounds like a “younger read” than that.

    1. Hi Damon. Yes, I’d say the target audience is probably 3-7 (I noticed this age group mentioned in one of Cynthia’s posts: . If you have younger grandchildren, you could include it in your library for your grandson to read it to them. I loved seeing my children read to each other. Plus, I noticed my kids often read “younger” books they had fond memories of. 🙂

  3. Wendy, I love your review and your turtle collection. I don’t have a turtle collection but I have two small turtle ornaments which were given to me by my children. I will take a photo and post to Facebook. I hope people will remember not only to love their shell but also love turtles. Our behaviour with plastic use and refuse is endangering them and hurting them so badly.

    1. I’m in love with the turtles you shared. <3 But I won't say it aloud because someone in my turtle collection may overhear, and then I'll be up turtle creek without a shell in sight. Yes, turtles, seals, sea lions, and the like are all being hurt by our rubbish. It's too bad we haven't made bigger advancements decreasing our footprint on the planet. God commanded us to exercise dominion over it–not destruction of it. 🙁
      Thank you for reading and sharing, dear friend. Did you recognize yourself in the blog when I mentioned a mutual friend? <3

      1. First, you made me laugh at the thought of you being up turtle creek without a shell in sight!
        And I like that reminder of God’s great command regarding the earth. Thank you, wendy.

  4. Great review; this grandfather of a three-year-old who loves books will hunt this book down. As for books read in childhood, I still have my copy of Black Beauty, a story of resilience and love that reminds me that even when all seems lost, hope remains.

    1. Thank you, Michael – very much — for that intention to get Myrtle for your grandchild. I heard from a well-known American blogger, the doctor “Victo Dolore” late last night. She said she and her daughter read the book “three times” before bedtime. So I think your grandchild will love it!

  5. Wendy, this sounds like a beautiful story! In a day and age where bullying and demeaning others has become commonplace, this story sounds like one that needs to be out there. Thank you for sharing this!

    I loved your picture of your turtle collection. My youngest LOVES turtles. I think they’re pretty cool too.

  6. Greetings, Wendy! Thanks for sharing this lovely review of Cynthia’s work. I found my way here via Cynthia’s post. I’m delighted to be following your blog now as well. We share a passion for poetry. 🙂

    1. It’s so nice to meet you, dear Natalie. I look forward to getting to know you through your blog too. Yes, I’m definitely passionate about poetry, and I’m heading over to your site right away to read some of your writing. 🙂

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