Friday, April 11, 2014

Tudley Didn't Know - Perfect Picture Friday Review #PPBF

     Some books get a lot of hype in the press. I'm not sure how the media decide on their darlings, but I love to discover books that I love that I haven't heard of before. This week's pick is one of those. Originally published seven years ago, it's a charming story that weaves fiction and nonfictional elements with a message of exploration and self-confidence. 

     Critters are reappearing in our yard again after the lo-oong winter. I'm keeping my eyes open for Tudley!

Title: Tudley Didn't Know
Author/Illustrator: John Himmelman
Publisher: Sylvan Dell 2006
[Note that Sylvan Dell has changed its name to Arbordale]
Audience: age 3-7
Themes: Possibility, Turtles

               Tudley was a young turtle who lived in a great big pond. He and all the other turtles liked to spend the warm summer afternoons lying in the sun. 

[Honestly, if I only read this far, I would put the book down. It doesn't draw me in. But keep reading and be rewarded!]

Synopsis: Tudley is a young turtle who doesn't know what turtles can and can not do. And so he helps the creatures he meets, including a sodden firefly and a hummingbird building its nest. He needs the other turtles to come to his aid though when he gets stuck on his back on a rock high in the air.

What I like about this book: It reads like a fable about following your dreams---not letting notions of the impossible stand in your way. It also uses the word lichen on the second page. I love that the author uses concrete specific language and realistic images of the creatures in the story (realistic except for Tudley's "impossible" achievements!).

Resources/Activities: The author includes a recipe for hummingbird feeder solution and a hopping paper turtle craft in the back matter. On Mr. Himmelman's website there is a cool video of a boy reading/presenting a different one of the author's books in ASL (sign language) as well as a link to an interview on "Just One More Book" (episode 180) with the author talking about the origin of his story ideas and prolific production as well as the role of illustrations for an author/illustrator (the author had had sixty five books published in twenty-five years at the time the interview was done!). [Note: the interview is 24 minutes long-I could only get audio, I'm not sure if there is video that I couldn't see]. The publisher, Arbordale Publishing, has Common Core Alignments and quizzes on their website page for the book.
     Go visit a pond.
     Pinterest has hundreds of turtle crafts for kids! The delicious looking apple-grape edible frogs look like super snacktime fun. Footprint frog looks like a great keepsake. 
     Talk about the difference between improbable and impossible. How has time and scientific discoveries changed our view of the impossible? What is an "impossible" that a child would like to be able to do?

I love to hear what you think about my selection in the comments! :)

 This review is part of PPBF (perfect picture book Friday) where bloggers share great picture books at Susanna Leonard Hill's site. Along with tons of writing wisdom, she keeps an ever-growing list of Perfect Picture Books. #PPBF


  1. Sounds lovely! And I would keep reading after the opening, because like Tudley, I like to spend my summer afternoons lying in the sun too! :) Today is also Pet Day, and I'm sure lots of kids have 'wild' pets like Tudley who live outdoors. I would love to have you stop by and see the ones I highlighted on my blog too.

  2. I'll see if my library has this. It sounds intriguing, like Tuesday but with a moral, maybe? :)

  3. Thanks for your recommendation. I too love it when I discover a hidden gem-of-a-book. The illustrations for this look particularly lovely!

  4. I love finding a gem. We'll see if we can find it at our library. My list is growing quickly this week.

  5. I totally hear you on the opening sentence thing.... I just opened one of my kid's favorite books about otters, and thought the same thing! But I think kids pick books about animals for different kinds of stories than they choose fiction. Thanks for sharing this - I'd not seen it before and now I must know what Tudley learned.

  6. This sounds like an empowering book for children, told through the voice of a turtle. I like realistic books for kids and have a grandchild that loves a good animal story. Really like the activities you suggested.

  7. I like the thought of the themes you've listed together - turtles and possibility! I'll be looking for this one!

  8. Great choice! I love a turtle who soars - literally and/or figuratively! Go, Tudley!

  9. This looks like a real treasure you've found! Turtles, ponds, lying in the sun, all full of possibilities! Thanks for sharing!

  10. Hmmmm, I thought I commented. I LOVE Himmelman. His TO THE RESCUE book are some of our favorites, and I think the next one comes out this fall. I do remember reading this one and thinking it was a fabulous way to learn about nature. His back matter is very good.