I love when a reviewer so completely understands a book.
Horn Book captures an element that many miss – that Truman’s journey parallels “a child’s own first journey into the unknown that is school.”
Thank you, Julie Danielson for this lovely review!
“Most picture books chronicling the first day of school focus on the small humans experiencing that rite of passage, but here the star is one such child’s intrepid pet tortoise. Truman lives in the big city with ‘his Sarah,’ who leaves one day with a backpack. She also places two extra green beans (uh-oh) in his tank and tells him to be brave. When, from the window, Truman sees her board the #11 bus going south, he knows he will have to go after her. Thus begins his slow-moving journey…across the living room, the pink floor rug being the most daunting obstacle: ‘Without Sarah, their home seemed vast and uncharted and unsettling.’ Just as he’s about to slip under the front door, Sarah returns, touched by his bravery and determination. At the heart of this story, paralleling a child’s own first journey into the unknown that is school, is the affectionate relationship between Sarah and Truman (Sarah regularly kisses her finger and touches it to his shell), and there’s much humor and drama in Truman’s exertions. Cummins’s relaxed-line, mixed-media illustrations bring the family’s cozy world to life, and the occasional use of a larger, bolder font emphasizes the heroics needed for Truman’s journey.
This little creature has big courage, something to which small humans can relate.”