3 out of 4 stars
Share This Review
Helix is a young tortoise whose back legs don’t work. Instead, he uses wheels to move around. He doesn’t let his disability stop him from doing everything the other kids do. At school one day, Helix decides to try going across the monkey bars. Unfortunately, as many kids do when first trying, he falls. He isn’t hurt, but his wheels are broken. Will Helix be able to finish out the day at school without his wheels? Will his teacher and friends be able to help him find a replacement that will let him keep on rolling?
Helix Breaks His Wheels by Randal Betz Jr. is the third book in a series about Helix. His character is based on a real tortoise with a congenital spinal disorder. The book contains colorful full-page pictures that kids will love. In addition, there is a little owl hidden on each page for children to try to find.
The story is written entirely in dialogue between Helix, his teacher, and his classmates. At the end of the book, there is an informational section about each of the species of tortoise that appears in the book. This section contains real photographs of each type of tortoise, along with information about their distinguishing features, habitat, diet, etc. There is also a biography about Helix, who unfortunately passed away in January of this year. I love that the book incorporates educational information about tortoises along with a fun story.
I think this is a wonderful book for kids. The themes of kindness and never giving up shine through every page, and the characters are wonderful role models. They are full of encouragement and willingness to help each other. The way they all come together to help Helix solve his problem is sweet. The only complaint I have about this book is that there was no introduction of Helix or his disability in the text of the story. I was a bit confused about why Helix needed wheels in the first place until I got to the end of the book and read his biography. I realize that this is part of a series, but Helix should be fully introduced in each story in case someone picks this book up before the first one.
I did notice a few errors, as well as some font and formatting issues with the educational portion of the pdf version. Hopefully, these errors can be cleaned up in the physical book. Due to these issues and my confusion about Helix throughout the story, I rate this book 3 out of 4 stars. Because of the nice illustrations, positive messages, and educational value, I would not consider a lower rating to be appropriate. I think the vocabulary and content would be perfect for children aged three to six, and I would especially recommend this book for kids who like to learn about animals.
Helix Breaks His Wheels
View: on Bookshelves