Turtle in a Tree by Neesha Hudson

Hello, Neesha Hudson! Kibbles and biscuits!!! I LOVE Turtle in a Tree. It is the type of picture book I hope for and search for and yearn for when I’m looking for a picture book that screams, “I’m perfect for readers theatre.” I cannot wait to experience it with students. What planted the seed for Turtle in a Tree?

Neesha Hudson: The book was inspired by my son who was about two and half at the time. We were in the car waiting to pick up his sister from kindergarten and he suddenly exclaimed, “there’s a turtle in that tree!” I responded, “a turtle?” and he said with utmost confidence, “I’m sure.” I couldn’t get the exchange out of my head, it just seemed like the perfect premise for a picture book! I thought it would be funny to make the two main characters dogs with very different points of view. One is sure he sees a turtle in a tree, and the other is sure that is ridiculous. The story formed over the next year or so and after a LOT of revision, and feedback from my agent and others, was ready for submission. However, the first few lines of the book are almost exactly that conversation my son and I had a few years ago.

How wonderful! What materials did you use to create the art?

Neesha Hudson: I used watercolor and colored pencil on 300lb hot press watercolor paper. Then scanned the paintings and added details, speech bubbles, and textures in Photoshop. 

Please finish the following sentence starters:

Turtle in a Tree is a humorous look at how two individuals can look at the same thing but see something completely different. My hope is that it makes way for conversation about having an open mind and considering others opinions, no matter how silly they seem.

Turtles are possibly better at climbing trees than we thought. 

Picture books are my favorite. The way that text and illustration work together to form the story is so exciting when it works well. They are also very diverse in both form and content. They can be big, small, long, short, have no words or have only words, consist of large full spreads or sparse spot illustrations. It allows for so much creativity. They can also tackle really difficult issues at a level that very young kids can understand and relate to. Or they just plain make the reader laugh. There’s no other genre like them.

Mr. Schu, you should have asked me about my two dogs Penny and Napoleon! I won’t say the dogs in Turtle in a Tree are based on them but there are similarities. Napoleon is a 8lb Chinese Crested who is half hairless and definitely wouldn’t think that turtles belong in trees. Penny is a 45lb Australian Shepherd/Poodle mix who would do anything she could to catch that pesky turtle and herd him back where he belongs.

Look for Turtle in a Tree on May 11, 2021. 

Penguin's Description: 

A spare and laugh-out-loud-funny picture book about seeing only half the full picture . . . and admitting when you’re not quite all the way right.

A greyhound swears there’s a turtle in the tree. A bulldog says it’s a squirrel. After all, a turtle in a tree? Who’s ever heard of such a thing? But their argument leads to a most surprising discovery . . . that maybe neither one of them is all the way wrong, or all the way right, and friendship is all about listening to someone else’s perspective.

Neesha Hudson is a freelance author-illustrator living on the coast of Maine. She is delighted to spend most of her days drawing funny little characters and sipping black tea. She is the illustrator of Walk Your Dog (Putnam 2018), but this is her author-illustrator debut. When not illustrating, Neesha enjoys spending time with her husband, their two children, two dogs, and four chickens.


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