cm_tortoise2Leslie Duval, wife of San Diego Botanic Garden CEO Julian Duval, has released a book that tells the true-life story of the Garden’s very own Galápogos tortoise, Sam. Illustrated by San Diego artist Ruth Todd Evans, Too Big to Lose follows Sam’s journey of being adopted by Julian from a Chicago zoo as a gift for his young sister. The book recounts the love, loss, and renewing of a friendship that was “too big to lose.”

“Taking care of a pet is a big responsibility. This story is about one of the world’s most inappropriate pets, a Galápagos tortoise,” said Julian. “I was young, loved reptiles, and was like a kid in a candy store when I bought Sam. We are all very happy that our friendship has come full-circle.” A portion of the book’s proceeds will go toward the caretaking of Sam, who currently is used as a therapy animal for the Garden’s visitors with special needs. Learn more at