cover image Truman


Jean Reidy, illus. by Lucy Ruth Cummins. Atheneum, $17.99 (48p) ISBN 978-1-5344-1664-2

Truman’s a tortoise; he’s “small, the size of a donut—a small donut—and every bit as sweet.” A perceptive fellow, he senses change one morning as his owner Sarah eats “a big banana with her breakfast” and “strapped on a backpack SOOOOOO big, thirty-two small tortoises could ride along.” Specific quantities confer verisimilitude to this tale by Reidy (Pup 681): “Sarah placed seven green beans in Truman’s dish—two more than usual!” Then Sarah “kissed her finger and touched it to his shell and whispered, ‘Be brave,’ ” and boards the number 11 bus. Readers know she’s probably not gone forever, but Truman doesn’t, and he resolves to find his way down to the bus to retrieve her. Cummins (Stumpkin) contributes expressive, thick-lined drawings that delineate cozy scenes inside and out of Sarah’s city residence. The smallness of Truman’s world makes his expedition appropriately daunting—and funny—as he makes his way out of his tank and toward the door. Fortunately for Truman and his new fans, he doesn’t have to go too far to find his person. Observational humor, clear affection between Truman and Sarah, and bold adventure make this a memorable pet-owner love story. Ages 4–8. [em](July) [/em]