The Turtle Ship

THE TURTLE SHIP sailed into the world in 2018!

The story is about a young boy who dares to dream BIG, even though people laugh at him. Inspired by his pet turtle, he enters a national contest for the best battleship design. The tale is based loosely on true facts about the Korean hero Admiral Yi Sun-sin and his incredible turtle ship, the first ironclad vessel ever made. Brilliant artist Colleen Kong-Savage illustrated the book with exquisite paper collage.

The book earned a Freeman Honor and named one of Bank Street’s Best Children’s Books of 2019. The artist Colleen Kong-Savage also won the Ezra Jack Keats Showcase Prize in 2021 — BRAVA, Colleen!

See more book details on Lee & Low’s website.

Download a copy of the Teacher’s Guide.


Icon-star“The illustrations and the narrative work together wonderfully to tell this fascinating episode in Korean naval history. A great mix of myth and history for most picture book collections.” —School Library Journal (Starred Review)

“Rhee’s smoothly paced story arc will read aloud well, while Kong-Savage’s striking, precise paper-collage scenes are equally effective in conveying the sweeping drama of ocean views and the personality and warmth in close-ups of Gobugi’s small, green face.” —Publisher’s Weekly

“[T]his debut packs a double punch modeling the experimental process while spotlighting an intriguing historical figure and his warcraft.” —Kirkus Reviews

A cheerful narrative speeds the plot along, but readers will want to linger on the gorgeous hand-cut paper-collage illustrations. The afterword and author’s and illustrator’s notes are not to be missed, as they provide depth and context.” — Booklist

  Listed on 28 Top Titles – 2018 – School Library Journal

    2018 Freeman Book Award Honorable Mention