Tumford the Terrible

( 5 )

Overview

Tumford isn't really a terrible cat. He just has a way of finding mischief--tracking dirt into the house, knocking over breakable things, and disrupting fancy parties. But even though he feels bad, he has a hard time saying, "I'm sorry." Will the fact that his owners love him, no matter what, help Tummy say the magic words?

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Overview

Tumford isn't really a terrible cat. He just has a way of finding mischief--tracking dirt into the house, knocking over breakable things, and disrupting fancy parties. But even though he feels bad, he has a hard time saying, "I'm sorry." Will the fact that his owners love him, no matter what, help Tummy say the magic words?

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  • Tumford the Terrible
    Tumford the Terrible  

Editorial Reviews

From Barnes & Noble

When the author of On the Night You Were Born and The Wonder of You gifts us with a new picture book, children and parents take notice. The title character of Nancy Tillman's latest opus isn't a new version of Ivan the Terrible; he's a slightly hapless cat who somehow always gets into trouble. With no ill intent, he creates messes, disrupts parties and raises havoc at the Village Fair. His owners understand that his feline clumsiness is just natural; what they can't comprehend is his apparent inability to say that he's sorry. This story is truly adorable; the book's photo-collages make it doubly so.

Publishers Weekly
Tumford exists to deliver a lesson on the importance of apologizing sincerely; with his chubby tummy and slick yellow boots, he looks as if he might have had some interesting adventures, but Tillman (On the Night You Were Born) stays on message. On the first page, Tumford claws a checked tablecloth to get to a plate of pancakes—he's always in trouble—but his owners Violet and George don't mind that so much as his inability to apologize ("In spite of the manners he often forgot,/ he would not say, 'I'm sorry,'/ Oh no, he would not."). During a trip to the fair, Tumford spills fish on the Village Fair queen and, after a fierce inner battle, resolves to do the right thing: "I'll bet you've guessed what comes next in the story./ Tumford stepped forward and said he was sorry." Extra-vivid impact is provided by photo-collage illustrations that combine winning images of Tumford (he has just the right insouciant, "I'm-not-apologizing" look) with props like teddy bears and teapots. Fans of Tillman's heart-on-her-sleeve sentimentality will be drawn to this as surely as Tumford is drawn to Twinklefish pie. Ages 3–5. (May)
School Library Journal
PreS-Gr 2—Tumford the cat can't bring himself to apologize after he breaks dishes, tramples the garden, or knocks over paint cans. He chokes on the words, "I'm sorry," and hides to avoid saying them to his kind owners. The elderly couple love Tummy anyway. In fact, they even take him to a fair after he promises to apologize for any mess he might make. There he knocks a dish of kippers on the Village Fair Queen and hides until he realizes that saying "sorry" might make the Stoutts proud and happy. The entire crowd cheers his apology. The artwork, done in collage and paint, includes varying amounts of detail and white space, but all feature the feline. Sometimes Tumford moves about like other black-and-white cats, but in other illustrations, he strides upright wearing yellow rubber boots. Other characters are secondary, as they probably are in Tummy's self-centered universe. The rhymed couplets reinforce the same message Tillman included in earlier books: no matter what a child (or cat) does, unconditional love prevails. Those who prefer a less cloying and more nuanced look at learning to apologize might consider Samantha Berger's Martha Doesn't Say Sorry! (Little, Brown, 2009). Collections in which Tillman's previous works circulate might want this title, but others can probably pass.—Kathy Piehl, Minnesota State University, Mankato
Kirkus Reviews

A well-intended morality tale. "In the wee little village of / Sweet Apple Green, / in the tiniest cottage you've ever seen, / lives a cat causing trouble, / within and without... / a cat named Tumford... / Tumford Stoutt." He lives with Georgy and Violet, who have nicknamed him Tummy. Whenever Tumford gets in trouble, he refuses to say he's sorry and hides instead. Vi and Georgy hope to break him of this habit, so they make him promise that he will apologize if he makes a mess. In return, they'll take him to the fair. Of course, a mess occurs; though he hides at first, Tumford decides to please his human parents and apologize. In the painted photocollage illustrations, Tillman's Tumford, an obvious child stand-in, wears a fixed yellow stare readers will have a hard time warming up to. Fans of her at-times-cloying previous efforts will likely not mind this precious tale and its didacticism. Even they may have trouble with the uneven scansion and occasionally awkward rhymes in this fable that seems to counsel apologizing to please others and make yourself feel good rather than because you mean it. Stick with the genuinely kid-friendly likes of Samantha Berger's Martha Doesn't Say Sorry (2009). (Picture book. 3-6)

From the Publisher
“Tumford exists to deliver a lesson on the importance of apologizing sincerely; with his chubby tummy and slick yellow boots, he looks as if he might have had some interesting adventures, but Tillman (On the Night You Were Born) stays on message.” —Publishers Weekly

“Tummy marches jubilantly in yellow galoshes, a Puss-in-Boots extraordinaire.” —Chicago Tribune

Chicago Tribune

Tummy marches jubilantly in yellow galoshes, a Puss-in-Boots extraordinaire.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780312368401
  • Publisher: Feiwel & Friends
  • Publication date: 5/24/2011
  • Series: Tumford Series
  • Edition description: First Edition
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 32
  • Sales rank: 157,656
  • Age range: 3 - 5 Years
  • Product dimensions: 9.90 (w) x 9.90 (h) x 0.40 (d)

Meet the Author

Nancy Tillman is the author and illustrator of the New York Times best-selling picture book On the Night You Were Born and its companion journal, The Wonder of You: A Book for Celebrating Baby's First Year. Her other books include Wherever You Are: My Love Will Find You and The Spirit of Christmas. A former advertising executive, Tillman now writes and illustrates full-time. She lives in Tualatin, Oregon.

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Read an Excerpt

…But oh, dear and oh, my There was one small pity.

Tumford, it seems, was a most stubborn kitty.

In spite of the manners he often forgot He would not say, "I'm sorry."

Oh, no, he would not!

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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 3.5
( 5 )
Rating Distribution

5 Star

(2)

4 Star

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Sort by: Showing all of 5 Customer Reviews
  • Posted October 2, 2011

    Beautiful, funny book.

    I have read this book with my kids multiple times. They love that Tumford looks a lot like our cat, Timber, but even if not, this book is beautifully illustrated. It also teaches them how important it is to say "I'm sorry" without being preachy.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 7, 2014

    Good book for small children

    Very well written and illustrated for children under 3

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted November 15, 2012

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted May 9, 2011

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted February 15, 2012

    No text was provided for this review.

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