4 out of 4 stars
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Oggy is a turtle in his fifties, and like many of us can attest to with age, some things about him aren't in the best shape. This is especially true of Oggy's shell, an old, tattered, plain, beaten up shell that he's had since hatching. His wife has been trying for years to convince him to get a new one, but Oggy worries that getting a new shell will make him forget all the wonderful memories he and his shell have made over the last 50+ years. To make the transition a bit easier, he decided to reach out to his best friend Rand, who has gotten numerous new shells over the years. Rand takes him to a giant store to pick one out, and Oggy learns that maybe getting a new shell isn't such a bad thing after all.
When I first saw Oggy Goes Shell Shopping by Felicia Sais I was really intrigued by how a turtle buying a shell would work as a children's book. Maybe it was that element of curiosity and lack of expectation that led to Felicia blowing me away with this book! The metaphor of getting a new shell is perfect for all sorts of situations. Are you moving? If Oggy could get a new shell and not lose his old memories, so can your child(ren)! Maybe your kid has a favorite outfit or toy that they can't live without. Oggy not only lets go of his old shell, he learns that there's a big world of newness out there, and that letting go can actually be an improvement! So many children's books teach a single lesson, which can be really helpful in specific circumstances, but Oggy's experience is applicable to countless situations that all kids eventually go through.
The writing itself is also wonderful. There are rhymes on most pages, but they never feel forced or oddly phrased. Oggy may be older and more reptilian than most children, but he's still very relatable with his nervousness about letting go of his old shell. Heck, even as an adult I reluctantly let go of things. I literally had the entire sole of my shoe come off once at work, and at the time I delivered furniture and appliances! We stubborn folks don't want to let go of what we know works for us, but just like Oggy, we eventually learn that things can be so much better.
While Felicia does a terrific job with the writing, Mike Ferrin really delivered on the art. These are full-page hand-created pieces of art, and it walks a fine line between cartoon and comic. The triangle glasses on Oggy's wife are reminiscent of Rocko's Modern Life, and the facial expressions are glorious on every page. Oggy has a great deal of personality, and his taped-up, suspender-clad shell is hysterical. Felicia and Mike really came together well on this book and both the art and the writing expertly compliment one another.
Oggy Goes Shell Shopping has no recommended age on Amazon, but I'd recommend it for early readers all the way through those learning to read longer books on their own. There's a fair balance of bigger words and basics, although none of the words are any kind of difficult for parents to explain. My rating of Oggy Goes Shell Shopping is 4 out of 4 stars, and I truly have no complaints. The book is short and sweet, has a fantastic lesson, had no errors or formatting issues, and had both solid writing and art. The book is also cute enough that I'd recommend it to older children who may not be into children's books anymore but are having a tough time letting go of a childhood home, an old bike, a favorite outfit or a treasured stuffed animal.
Oggy Goes Shell Shopping
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