Timmy the Time Travelling Tortoise

Welcome to Story Quest, a weekly podcast where we bring your stories to life!

In this episode we bring Freddie’s story – Timmy the Time Travelling Tortoise – to life.

If you have a story idea, you could be like Freddie and have it turned into a Story Quest. All you have to do is send us your story idea here. We know you have the best imaginations and together we can create the most brilliant stories!

That’s just what Freddie did. You can watch the story he suggested come to life below, plus he tells us all about the inspiration behind the story at the end.

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Read along to Timmy the Time Travelling Tortoise!

You can read along to the story while you listen. Just follow the text below. Don’t worry if you find a word tricky – you can pause the video whenever to give yourself more time.

Timmy the Time Travelling Tortoise

Timmy was a tortoise who lived in Tinglewood Zoo.  He was the smallest tortoise and had lived there for nearly 50 years which seems like a long time –  but in tortoise years, well – he wasn’t much more than a teenager.  Timmy wasn’t a happy tortoise.  The trouble was that when people came to visit the zoo, hardly anyone wanted to see him.  It was all about the tall elegant giraffes and the scary lions and tigers – and he could see the children practically RUSH past his enclosure to get to the fluffy alpacas.  This was really confusing because Timmy knew that alpacas are actually really grumpy and SPIT at people. Timmy didn’t spit but he was quite grumpy.  He just felt – well – left out!  

There were green parakeets who flew freely around the zoo and one of them (who was called Churp) had made things worse by telling him that NOT EVEN ONE fluffy tortoise toy had been sold in the gift shop.  This did not help his mood one bit.

Timmy complained to his parakeet friend but it has to be said Churp wasn’t very sympathetic.

“Well you’ve had your time haven’t you?” said Churp.

“What do you mean I’ve had my time. I’ve only been alive for 50 years – I’m still a kid!  Well for a tortoise.  When do I get to be the special one?!”

“Nah!  I mean you REPTILES had your time – the age of the dinosaurs right?  You ruled the blooming EARTH for MILLIONS of years!  You can’t be getting all sniffy now because people fancy a change and want to pat a woolly alpaca or pet a giraffe.”

“That’s all very well but it’s not like I got to be part of the age of the dinosaurs is it?” huffed Timmy.  He waddled off forlornly to chomp on a new batch of leaves.  They were a new type it seemed left by the keepers.  They were very very good.  So that cheered him up a bit.  It was strange to think that he had something in common with actual DINOSAURS and Timmy thought it must have been very exciting to be alive in those times.

“I wish I had been around when reptiles ruled the world – the age of the tortoise!  Well – and the dinosaurs.  I expect we’d have all got along.”

Something very strange began to happen.  The air around Timmy began to shimmer and  a mist sprung up – he felt himself being lifted into the air.

“What’s happening!” he wailed!

Flying through the swirling mist he could see that the zoo looked different – the buildings were old and people were wearing strange old fashioned clothing – and then the mists parted again and the zoo had disappeared completely – rows of houses took its place and then fields…  

Spinning in the mist Timmy realised that it was as if he had gone back in time – in fact that must be it!!  He looked down to see a castle appear and a battle being fought – and then more mists – and the castle became huts with cavemen – he must be going back further and further – he was getting quite dizzy now and so he was relieved when the mists dissolved and he found himself back on the ground.  Lush thick vegetation surrounded him – it looked quite delicious!  And the air was thick and hot – could it be the same place?  Where was he – or rathe – WHEN was he?  

The answer presented itself quite neatly when hearing a steady chomping noise he looked up to see – A BRONTOSAURUS pulling leaves from the tallest tree.  

He SQUEAKED in shock and waddled as quickly as he could under a large palm leaf.  He must be back in the age of the dinosaurs!  He thought he might be friends with the ancient reptiles – but he hadn’t expected them to be so.. well – BIG!  This Brontosaurus was just MASSIVE!

Gaining a bit of confidence Timmy shouted up “um… Hello Mr Brontosaurus?!  Can we be friends?”

But the giant beast was so high up he couldn’t hear – and Timmy found himself scurrying away from the giant feet which mooched around the trees – very nearly stepping on him more than once.  He gave up and got himself to a safe distance.  

“Well, that wasn’t quite the warm welcome I was expecting!” He huffed.  The mists rolled around him and he found himself in a rolling green plain – phew!  Away from those lumbering feet – and were those… Stegasaurouses?!  

He tried to wave at them – they were ambling in a herd across the grass – chomping lazily as they went.

“What are you doing here?” one of them said curiously.

“I’m… I’m just visiting…”

“Shouldn’t you be at the swamp with the others of your kind?”

“Can’t I come along with you?  After all I’m a reptile too!  We should all stick together!  And be friends!”

The stegosaurus smirked (as much as a stegosaurus can smirk – you’ll just have to imagine that…) Then spluttered and chuckled and then began to laugh and laugh and laugh!

“Did you hear that?!” he brayed to the other stegosauruses – “this silly little tortoise thinks he can be part of our herd!”

And the others began to laugh too – and Timmy trudged sadly away.  Who knew that stegasaurouses could be so MEAN?  Or should that be stegosauri?  Whatever – Timmy didn’t care what they were called and was sort of glad when the mists surrounded him again.  

He wasn’t so glad when they dissolved away to reveal another grassy plain but this time the stegosauruses – or stegostauri – had been replaced by something else… something huge, with long sharp teeth – something that was coming Timmy’s way.  There was no mistaking it.  It was a …


Timmy scuttled as quickly as he could to escape –  but as you can probably imagine a small tortoise is going to find it quite difficult to out run a T Rex – especially one who’s VERY VERY HUNGRY!”

“Why can’t we all get along!” he squeaked!

The T rex got closer and closer – and timmy shut his eyes – and in a flash……….

He found himself back in his enclosure at Tinglewood Zoo.


“You back with us?” Cawed Churp the Parakeet. You were out like a light!”  

Timmy blinked.  And then sighed with relief!  He was back in the present. Then he realised he was on his back, spinning on his shell.  He quickly righted himself.

“How embarrassing!” blushed Timmy  “AndI wasn’t asleep – I’d gone back in time!” he said.

Churp cackled with laughter at this.  “Good joke Timmy! Nah I saw you myself! You were snoring away!”

But… It had seemed so real – and so scary!  

“I was right there – with the dinosaurs – right in the middle of the age of the reptiles!”

“Well – You must have felt like a King”

“I felt more like LUNCH – not all reptiles are herbivores like me – and it was too hot – and it turns out stegasaurouses – or stegasaurii or whatever you call them – it turns out they’re really MEAN and I nearly got trodden on and I’m STARVING – talking of which where did all those delicious new leaves go?- I’m RAVENOUS!”

“Oh – the keepers took them away – apparently they were a bit – well – dodgy.  You were fast asleep for days, the chameleons all went purple and some of the turtles started TAP DANCING!”

Whatever had happened Timmy was relieved to be home – and he never travelled through time again.

And maybe it wasn’t so bad being the smallest tortoise in the zoo – maybe he didn’t get crowds coming to watch him chomp on his leaves and maybe the shop would always sell more toy tigers than tortoises. But on the other hand he had a safe warm place to live, and delicious leaves every day – and generally speaking NO ONE wanted to eat him for lunch.  So, when you thought about it –  perhaps it was the age of the tortoise after all!

And that’s the story of Timmy the Time Travelling Tortoise – do you think he really went back in time?  Or maybe it was just a dream!

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