Skip to main content Skip to search Skip to search

Children's Fiction Turtles

How Old Is Mr. Tortoise?

A Picture Book

by (author) Dev Petty

illustrated by Ruth Chan

Abrams Books for Young Readers
Initial publish date
Jun 2022
Turtles, Animals, Birthdays
Recommended Age
4 to 8
Recommended Grade
p to 3
  • Hardback

    Publish Date
    Jun 2022
    List Price

Classroom Resources

Where to buy it


With a story from I Don’t Want to Be a Frog author Dev Petty and hilarious graphic novel–style illustrations from Ruth Chan, the picture book How Old Is Mr. Tortoise? will have readers guessing the answer from beginning to end.
It’s Mr. Tortoise’s birthday, and he can’t wait to eat cake with his friends. But there’s a hitch! Mr. Tortoise can’t remember how old he is, so his friends don’t know how many candles to put on the cake. And they won’t stop (or slice) until they figure out the mystery.

Could Mr. Tortoise be as many years old as there are sections on his shell? He’s twice as big as the smaller tortoise . . . so is he twice as old? After the partygoers work through a variety of possibilities, they find their way to the answer with a simple bit of addition.

“a funny and loving salute to friendship, critical thinking, longevity, and cake.” —Publishers Weekly (Starred Review)

About the authors


Dev Petty a travaillé dans le domaine du cinéma comme artiste aux effets spéciaux. Elle a notamment collaboré à la trilogie Matrix et à des douzaines d’autres films. Elle vit à Albany, en Californie.


Dev Petty previously worked as a visual-effects artist in film, contributing to such movies as the Matrix Trilogy. She lives in Albany, California.

Mike Boldt is an author and illustrator living in the countryside of Alberta, Canada. He has been illustrating for children for the past 15 years. His most recent picture book with Scholastic Canada is the wildly fun picture book The Duck Says (Les cancans du canard).

Dev Petty's profile page

Ruth Chan spent her childhood tobogganing in Canada, her teens living in and exploring China, a number of years studying art and education, and a decade working with youth and families in underserved communities. She now writes and illustrates in Brooklyn, New York, where she can often be found chatting with her neighbors. Visit for more info.

Ruth Chan's profile page

Editorial Reviews

"Mr. Tortoise’s emotions, which range from excited to thoughtful to confused to triumphant, dance across his face from panel to panel, and his friends are vibrant with enthusiasm. . .Anyone who’s ever had to wait for a treat will empathize."

The Horn Book Magazine

"'HOORAY, CAKE!' says Mr. Tortoise. And hooray for Petty and Chan, whose comic hearts beat as one in this impeccably paced story told in graphic novel panels. With deadpan dialogue and endearingly goofy character-focused art, they’ve created a funny and loving salute to friendship, critical thinking, longevity, and cake."

Publishers Weekly

"Striking the right balance between joyful irreverence and absurd, quirky humor, this provides obvious opportunities both in storytime and classrooms, as the animal pals bring liveliness to a stealthy math lesson. Layout is used effectively, with initial panels that provide structure, then alternate with full spreads that emphasize the humor and whimsy of the story."

The Bulletin of the Center for Children's Books

Other titles by

Other titles by