I think Birtle and the Purple Turtles (Volume One) is an odd and nice story about “being different” but that’s okay. Not specifically GLBT but fits those and other “I am different” needs. Sweet, modern, good for the early reader needing help, been reading solo for a bit or a listener. The story is familiar, we have a turtle who wants to play, but the town of Turtleville is not into playing turtle tag. They have other things they want. But one day a thing falls from the sky and sits on Tootie (said turtle who wants to play turtle tag). Well, though the thing doesn’t have a name (Tootie and the thing decide Teeny is good, after a few slow starts), and they don’t have a shell, they still can be friends. Through the chapters they have a few adventures, but eventually Teeny starts to question why they feel different. And one day, they look different too. Of course, Teeny is a bird and eventually the two best friends realized that turtles and birds can be friends and can find a way to still play together, even inventing the name, Birtle (and Bird and Turtle who are playing sky tag). There is adult humor in the art (the page with the turtles and their names, all have a T name, except Fred; the feathers and the top hat, and more), plus Tara J. Hannon’s text is just fun to listen or read.
Sometimes the two characters can be a bit too naive and too dramatic, but are representing children’s fears, thoughts and behaviors. This shows up in the second book, Birtle and the (Very) Unwelcome Garry (Volume 2) maybe a bit more than the first. This time, the main story is about how Teeny finds a new friend. A new bird friend and the jealousy that occurs from Tootie because of that. However, before I was able to get into the story, I noticed that the colors were all off. The turtles in book one are purple (and said so in the title), and here Tootie is orange, and Teeny, once orange, is now blue. I am not sure if this is a whoops as it is a reader’s copy, or things changed, but the story is the same and cute and kid-like in finding the moral of the story. This time around there was a slightly more solid flow to things, but the chapter breaks still allow for pauses (a chapter a night kind of reading) and there is a bit more story if you are reading the illustrations.
Both were read via online reader copy, with volume one currently available and volume two due late May/early June 2024.