Samantha Wheeler, Turtle Trackers, University of Queensland Press, 27 Feb 2018, 192pp., $14.95 (pbk), ISBN: 9780702259951
The main character in Turtle Trackers is 10-year-old Isaac, who seems to have more than his fair share of worries. Since his dad passed away tragically, he must help his mum run a caravan park on the Queensland coast. Things get even more difficult for Isaac when a cantankerous travel journalist, Mr Eastwood, comes to stay at the park. He writes for a caravanning blog and a bad review could be disastrous for the caravan park and Isaac’s mum. Unfortunately, despite Isaac’s efforts to impress Mr Eastwood, he seems to keep annoying him.
The story isn’t all doom and gloom, though. Isaac and his mum enjoy the friendship and support of some colourful characters in their community and the physical environment is quite lovely. The daily eventfulness of the caravan park adds a cheerful energy to the story.
Isaac is fascinated by the sea turtles who come to nest at the nearby beach and would love to become a volunteer turtle tracker to watch over the turtle eggs. But will his mother make the time to help him volunteer?
Interesting facts about endangered sea turtles and efforts to conserve them are seamlessly woven into the story, as is a strong environmental message about the damage that plastic bags can cause.
I very much enjoyed this book. The characters and dialogue are authentic and I felt as if I knew Isaac and his mum. Isaac’s travails with Mr Eastwood as well as his adventures trying to care for the turtle nests, lends suspense and drama to the storyline.
Reviewed by Barbara Swartz