Back to School Tortoise

Back to School Tortoise

by Lucy M. George, Merel Eyckerman
     
 

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It's time to go back to school. But Tortoise is worried. What if he falls down? What if he doesn't like lunch? What if the kids are mean to him? What if he falls down, doesn't like lunch, and the kids are mean to him? The perfect back-to-school book about being brave, with a surprise at the end!

Overview


It's time to go back to school. But Tortoise is worried. What if he falls down? What if he doesn't like lunch? What if the kids are mean to him? What if he falls down, doesn't like lunch, and the kids are mean to him? The perfect back-to-school book about being brave, with a surprise at the end!

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
In a story that shows that back-to-school anxieties aren't just child's play, Tortoise quietly contemplates what could go wrong at school. "What if he tripped while getting lunch, and all the kids were mean to him?" Each scenario features gentle-looking animals, while the use of white space emphasizes Tortoise's feelings of isolation as he sits outside school, shoulders hunched. But Tortoise's thoughts soon turn to the positive: "What if... it was fun? Or lunch was his favorite? Or he made lots of new friends?" Readers approaching school with trepidation will be doubly reassured by the clever and tender twist at the end. Ages 4–7. (July)
School Library Journal
PreS-Gr 1—Summer ends, and Tortoise must go back to school. Wearing a red cap and a purple scarf, his apple and notebook securely in his backpack, he sets off through the woods. As he walks, he worries about tripping and falling, about a lunch he might not like, and about kids who might be mean to him. When he arrives, he sits down on the steps, unable to go inside. Then his face brightens as he imagines eating his favorite lunch and making new friends. Taking a deep breath, he opens the door and bravely greets the other animals, who shout back "Good morning, Mr. Tortoise." While back-to-school jitters are certainly not limited to children, the problem here is that Tortoise is much the same size as Rabbit, Bird, Cat, Frog, and Pig, and nothing about his appearance suggests that he is an adult. The cartoon illustrations are done in pastels and enlarge the brief text. Tortoise's sweet face is expressive, and his worries are the same that many children feel on that first day. Still, a more reassuring story for the faint of heart might be Kevin Henkes's Wemberly Worried (Greenwillow, 2000).—Mary Jean Smith, Southside Elementary School, Lebanon, TN
Children's Literature - Carrie Hane Hung
It's the first day of school and the carefree days of summer fun come to a close. On his walk to school, Tortoise thinks seriously about his first day. He is worried about the embarrassing things that might happen, such as falling down or meeting mean kids. When Tortoise arrives at school, he contemplates whether he should continue into the building to his classroom. He thinks about the fun and new friends that may be waiting for him in the classroom. Tortoise makes his decision about what he is going to do. The illustrations support the story and the colors like the calming green of Tortoise and the white space of the pages help to keep Tortoise's worries and jitters about the first day of school on the lighter side. The twist at the story's ending may have readers going back to reread the story and examine the pictures to consider the assumptions that were made. This first day of school story has a similar plot and surprise ending like that in A Very Full Morning by Montanari. Students may compare these back-to-school stories and illustrations with other books to understand differences in perspective and mood of stories with a similar theme. Reviewer: Carrie Hane Hung
Kirkus Reviews

In the tradition of back-to-school books that focus on the teacher, such as Julie Danneberg's First Day Jitters (2000), this outing demonstrates that they are human, with the same fears and worries that their students face.

George cleverly leads readers to believe that Tortoise is just another kid worrying about school. He flies kites, wears a backpack and tends to trip a lot. And on the first day of school, after getting dressed and eating a good breakfast, the what-ifs start to plague him. "What if he tripped and fell? Or he didn't like lunch? Or the kids were mean to him?" Worse yet, what if all three happened at the same time? The what-ifs paralyze him on the steps of the school, where he sits pondering. But some positive thinking turns those what-ifs around: "What if it was fun? Or lunch was his favorite? Or he made lots of new friends?" Or better yet, all three. He wouldn't want to miss that! He bravely opens the door, greets everyone, and it is finally revealed that this is Mr. Tortoise, the teacher, who was so worried. Light colors and simple details mark Eyckerman's illustrations, which keep George's true professorial identity a secret right until the very end. Her characters embody the charm and innocence of young children.

A great pep-talk for nervous newcomers to school, and some reassurance that even teachers can worry about the first day. (Picture book. 4-7)

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780807505106
Publisher:
Whitman, Albert & Company
Publication date:
07/01/2011
Pages:
24
Sales rank:
620,010
Product dimensions:
10.10(w) x 9.90(h) x 0.50(d)
Age Range:
4 - 7 Years

Meet the Author


As a child Lucy George wrote stories and poems, directed several plays (starring her sisters) and enjoyed making magic potions out of household goods. She studied English Literature at University and now lives in Wales near the sea where she writes and works.

Merel Eyckerman is from Belgium, near Antwerp. She met her husband, Benjamin Leroy, whilst studying and enjoys discussing all aspects of her drawing work with him. When Merel is not busy shaping a character for a new children's book, she is busy creating archeological drawings at home, or in Egypt.

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