In Doctor Doolittle And The Secret Lake Dr. D goes to a secret lake, there he talks to a giant turtle who is the only living thing who remembers the flood! This giant turtle knows the secrets of the ages (I’ve forgotten what they are exactly), it’s all very exciting.

The story captures the wonder of the giant turtle – they live a very long time, which is in itself exciting (cf. the gross anthropomorphism of books about some long-lived reptile that “witnessed the relief of Mafeking”). But also they have lived a very long time – they are a link back to our planet’s steamy, ferny reptilian past. So are crocodiles but they’ve been rebranded by humans to have new modern resonance (eating us up), which hasn’t happened to the giant turtle. Immense and slow-moving, even a young turtle has an aura of ancientness that makes them fascinating.