Zonk, the Dreaming Tortoise Picture-books

by David Hoobler, author and illustrator

 Zonk the Dreaming tortoise

Book One in the series introduces children to Zonk, a Sonoran Desert tortoise who wants to become a sea turtle; his various pals; and the Sonoran Desert. The story follows Zonk as he pursues his dream of finding and swimming in the ocean—no one believes he can do it, but he doesn't give up. It’s a delightful and encouraging story for small children.

Zonk and the Secret Lagoon

Book Two of the series is all about Zonk's ocean adventures. Having made it to the ocean, Zonk begins a new life as a "sea tortoise". He finds himself in the Sea of Cortez with his new friends, Manta Ray, Fish and baby sea turtle, Emily. Children will love all the varied sea creatures and the Secret Lagoon. Loads of fantastic ocean artwork!

Zonk and the Gray Whales' Birthday Party

The “biggest” birthday party in the world is the focus of Book Three, featuring the annual Gray Whale migration to Baja. Zonk and his new friends discover the Pacific lagoons, where the Gray Whales gather to birth their calves every year. This is a very special ocean event. Join Zonk and his new pals for this wonderful adventure and take part in the celebration.

Zonk is a little Sonoran desert tortoise who decides to find the ocean and become a sea turtle. A dreamer and explorer at heart, Zonk tries to enlist the help of his friends and family. But they don't understand and tell him it's a silly notion. This is a story of dreams and persistence, of overcoming doubts, and of transformation, while introducing children to the flora, fauna, and climate extremes of the Sonoran Desert. 

Follow Zonk in all three books as he leaves the desert and finds the ocean, gets washed out to sea in a flash flood and finds new friends, and sets out to make his way back home.

Beautiful artwork, humorous and entertaining stories, and a fascinating cast of characters and animals all combine to create a fun, educational experience. The Zonk series is appealing to a wide range of children from 2 to 10 years of age.

Start your Zonk Adventure today.


  • All the Zonk books include some value-added features, including maps of the Sonoran Desert and Baja, where the stories take place. The biology and geography are correct and current in each of the books (within the fantasy of a swimming tortoise and talking animals.) 
  • On the end pages are small glossaries of terms, additional information about some of the animals in the stories, and explanations of some of the ecosystem relationships between the creatures. 
  • Also included are environmental issues faced by some of the characters in the books. These materials are designed to be a jumping off place for teachers and parents to begin to talk to their children about how to value and take care of our environment and animal friends.