Through the Looking Glass Children's Book Reviews

Tudley Didn't Know

Tudley Didn't Know

John Himmelman
Picture Book
For ages 4 to 6
Arbordale Publishing, 2006   ISBN: 978-0976494362

Tudley is a painted turtle with a big heart. When a little hummingbird drops a bit of lichen next to Tudley, the turtle retrieves the lichen, flies up to the hummingbird's nest, and gives the piece of lichen to the nesting bird. The hummingbird tells Tudley that turtles can't fly, which rather shocks the turtle. He had no idea that turtles were strictly terrestrial animals.

Over the next few days Tudley interacts a lot of creatures and learns many new things. He helps a firefly by lighting up his own tail in firefly fashion, he helps a tadpole by hopping like a frog, and he learns to sing like a katydid.  Tudley does not care that turtles are not supposed to, fly, light up, hop, or sing. He does all these things anyway and has a wonderful time in the process.

Then Tudley gets himself into a dreadful pickle. He gets stuck on his back on top of a pile of rocks. He desperately needs help and, as it turns out, he also needs to learn how to deal with his problem the way a turtle would do.

Young readers will laugh out loud as they watch funny little Tudley fly around like a humming bird, light up like a firefly, hop like a frog, and sing like a katydid. They will be encouraged to think that there is nothing that they cannot do when they think outside the box, and have confidence in themselves. In addition, they will learn some wonderful natural history facts from the narrative, and from the additional notes that the author has thoughtfully provided for his readers at the back of the book.