Beat the Turtle Drum

Beat the Turtle Drum

Beat the Turtle DrumBeat the Turtle Drum

Greene, C.





Book for children who have lost a sibling.



A nice, affecting, clearly remembered family story that shifts gears with a jolt. It starts as a relaxed, first-person narrative, dotted with 13-year-old Kate’s childhood memories about her sister Joss, who is now all excited about the horse she’s going to rent for a week as an 11th birthday gift. Then the horse and the birthday arrive and as Kate describes it, “”we were all caught up in a net of summer contentment””in fact the idyll might threaten to grow monotonous if Kate hadn’t just hinted at “”something terrible.”” What it is marks the next break: the girls climb a tree, Joss falls out and dies instantly, and the rest of the book chronicles the following days of family numbness and grief. Leaving the reader almost as unprepared as Kate is for the tragedy could be considered sneaky, but it’s certainly effective; young readers lulled by Greene’s net of contentment are bound to share Kate’s shock as well as her earlier pleasure.

Amazon Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Greene brings her trademark blend of quirky humor and acute perception to this bittersweet tale of two sisters’ summer together. Ages 10-up.
Copyright 1994 Reed Business Information, Inc.


“Greene brings her trademark blend of quirky humor and acute perception to this bittersweet tale of two sisters’ summer together.” —Publishers Weekly

“Constance C. Greene has written a remarkable tale.” —The New York Times Book Review

Amazon Reader Review

I first read this book when I was eleven years old. For some reason, although it saddened me, it didn’t seem real: I’d never known anybody my own age who had died, and I couldn’t comprehend the grief of the older sister, Kate, when her little sister Joss died suddenly. Last year, however, my 7-year-old son died unexpectedly. The pain of such loss is incomprehensible to anyone who hasn’t suffered such a terrible thing. Everything Kate describes in this book is so true: the rage at God, the anger that somebody else who ‘deserved’ to die didn’t die instead, and most of all, the stillness, the emptiness where that little person used to be. When I read Kate’s poem about her sister’s empty bed, I wept and wept. I’m crying as I write this. Constance Greene has written a small masterpiece about the worst possible thing that life could throw at a person; it is a thing of rare beauty. And it will make you hug your children a little more often.