Monday, September 5, 2011
Review #107: Back to School Tortoise
Lily (age 8): "Back to School Tortoise." Lucy M. George and Merel Eyckerman -- they wrote it and illustrated it, you know.
Elijah (age 5): It is the cutest book in the world.
Lily: And he is the cutest tortoise of all.
Gracie (age 11): He's got awesome little shoes.
Lily: Cutie-cutie-cutie land.
Gracie: The illustrator even makes GRASS cute! I mean, who can make grass cute?
Lily: She can!
Dad: What's the premise of the story? I guess the title kind of explains that, huh?
Lily: Well, everyone is finishing up their summer stuff. And Tortoise gets ready to go back to school. Then he starts thinking... What if the kids are mean? What if I really don't like the lunches?
Gracie: He doesn't want to go to school because he thinks something awful might happen. But then he starts thinking of all the good things that might happen. And after that, he wants to go to school again. And it's okay. He has a fun time.
Dad: We talked about the cuteness of the pictures already. How was the writing?
Gracie: I thought the writing was cute too. It's not very complicated -- it's not like Shakespeare. But it's also not like "Jack is a boy. Jack likes red." It's in the middle.
Dad: And the book has a clever little twist at the end.
Gracie: It's funny. I was surprised.
Elijah: I still don't get it.
Dad: Elijah doesn't get the joke. But we can't explain it here because we don't want to give away the funny ending to everyone else.
Gracie: I'll explain it to you later, Elijah.
Elijah: My favorite part of the book is the cuteness of the turtle.
Dad: Is it a turtle or a tortoise?
Elijah: A tortoise. And a turtle. It's a "turtle-slash-tortoise."
Dad: This is a perfect book for you. Turtles are your favorite animal!
Elijah: The turtle in this book is my favorite turtle ever.
Dad: AND it's also a great book because you are starting school this year! Kindergarten!
Dad: Do you think you are going to have slurpies and cupcakes for lunch like Tortoise did?
Elijah: I hope so!
Dad: Or maybe you will have a big bowl of peas.
Gracie: We always have good lunches.
Lily: We'll probably have applesauce, and a sandwich, and an apple.
Dad: That's a lot of apple. Why not wash it down with some apple juice too?
Gracie: My teacher is the best. I have the best teacher in the whole entire universe! I'm home schooled.
Lily: When we walk to school, honestly all we have to do is go up the stairs.
Gracie: Those are good things about being home schooled. And you never have to worry about mean teachers.
Lily: Unless you have a mean mom.
Dad: You guys lucked out in the mom department.
Dad: Now, the school situation in the book might not apply. But have you ever felt like Tortoise before? Worried about something new?
Lily: Yes. The first year I went to Family Camp classes. I was scared about kids being mean to me. But then I met one of my best friends.
Gracie: I'm still worried about that every year I go. Sometimes boys can be mean.
Dad: Did you notice Tortoise had a choice to make in the book?
Gracie: Either be grumpy and worried about school all day... or be happy and excited and confident.
Lily: That takes practice.
Dad: Did anything about the school change? Or did his attitude change?
Gracie: His attitude changed.
Dad: You always have a choice. You can look on either the negative side or the bright side.
Lily: You should look on the bright side. Unless you are going to boarding school.
Dad: Any last words to sum up the book?
Elijah: It's all cuteness and turtle pictures.
Lily: Dad, at the beginning it says "Tortoise gets dressed." But all he is wearing is a hat and scarf and shoes.
Dad: It doesn't take him very long to get dressed does it?
Gracie: He's not wearing any pants.
Lily: (addressing Tortoise) Are you wearing any pants, sir?
Dad: Maybe THAT'S why he didn't want to go to school.
Gracie: I can't go to school! I'm not wearing any pants!
Author: Lucy M. George
Illustrator: Merel Eyckerman
Published, 2011: Albert Whitman and Company
Like it? Here it is