FAQ

Find out more about the real Albert and the picturebook Albert in our in-depth FAQ. 

ALBERT THE TORTOISE - REAL ALBERT

REAL ALBERT – WHAT IS PICTUREBOOK ALBERT BASED ON?

 

Albert in the books is based on a real tortoise – also called Albert… a modern-day, mini-dinosaur living life on the veg.

WHAT TYPE OF TORTOISE IS REAL ALBERT?

 

Real Albert is a Greek tortoise – also known as Mediterranean spur-thighed. Despite the name, they’re also found in Northern Africa, Southern Europe and parts of the Middle East. They have little fleshy spurs on their thighs, near the tail.   

IS ALBERT A PET TORTOISE?

 

Yes. He lives with the author Ian Brown and his family. He was found by Ian’s wife, Millie, about 50 years ago when she was a little girl. Her family took Albert in and he has lived with them ever since.

WHAT DOES REAL ALBERT EAT?

 

The food shown in the books is for the stories. Greek tortoises like Albert eat vegetation. They were vegan long before its current popularity. In real life different types of tortoises eat different types of food. For real Albert good foods include grasses that can be grazed from a lawn, dandelion, clover, leafy salads, watercress, spring greens, coriander and parsley. The bulk of the food should be leafy greens and grasses. Small amounts of grated carrot or a strawberry can be monthly treats. There are a few species of tortoise that can safely eat more fruit but most can’t.

HOW OLD IS REAL ALBERT?

 

Greek tortoises like Albert can live a long time. Real Albert is at least 60 years old. He might be 80. One Greek tortoise living in England reached the incredible age of 160.

DOES A TORTOISE SHELL HAVE SPECIAL NAMES?

 

The top domed part of Albert’s shell is known as the carapace and the bottom underlying part is known as the plastron.

DOES ALBERT HAVE TEETH?

 

Tortoises like Albert do not have teeth. They have a beak – somewhat like a bird.

CAN ALBERT SEE WELL?

 

Tortoises have good eyesight and an excellent sense of smell.

WHAT IF A REAL TORTOISE GOES ON ITS BACK? 

 

It is not good for tortoises to be on their backs. It’s important to turn them the right way, as gently and carefully as you can.

I’M THINKING ABOUT GETTING A TORTOISE AS A PET, WHAT SHOULD I DO?

 

Always seek specialist advice before considering a tortoise as a pet and always consult expert guidance on tortoise care.

ALBERT THE TORTOISE - PICTUREBOOK ALBERT

Picturebook Albert

HOW ARE THE ALBERT ILLUSTRATIONS CREATED?

 

Illustrator Eoin Clarke sketches each illustration first and the pictures are shaped to fit the words of the story. Sometimes words are cut or changed to help the look of a page.

When the look of the pages is agreed, Eoin paints the images in oil paints. Each painting of each double page takes about four weeks.

When all the pages are painted, the images are scanned and sent across to the designer at the publishers Graffeg. Then the words are added and the final look of each page is fine tuned.

HOW LONG DO THE ILLUSTRATIONS TAKE?

 

A simple double page spread might take four or five days, but a complicated one will take around three weeks. Each book on average takes four months to illustrate.

DID THE LOOK OF ALBERT CHANGE?

 

Albert had several looks before the final design was reached. He was a little more cartoon-like and at one point was wearing a crash helmet. But Eoin wanted to make him as realistic as possible but still cute. Hopefully that has been achieved.

HOW DO I BUY THE BOOKS AND OTHER ALBERT PRODUCTS?

 

Please visit our SHOP to find out more ways to purchase the book and other products: https://www.alberttortoise.com/shop-albert-the-tortoise/

DO YOU OFFER EXTRA RESOURCES?

 

ALBERT UPSIDE DOWN A4 COLOURING-IN SHEETS TO DOWNLOAD:

DO YOU DO VISITS?

 

Unfortunately real Albert is not available for visits. However, we are happy to discuss visits to schools, bookshops, festivals or events by author Ian Brown or illustrator Eoin Clarke.

 

ALBERT THE TORTOISE - GALLERIES

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ALBERT THE TORTOISE

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