Thursday, December 9, 2021

Review - Rodney Was a Tortoise

Rodney Was a Tortoise

by Nan Forler
illustrated by Yong Ling Kang
Date: 2022
Publisher: Tundra Books (NY)
Reading level: C
Book type: picture book
Pages: 48
Format: e-book
Source: NetGalley

This comforting and gently humorous picture book about bereavement and the strength of friendship shows how a child overcomes the sadness of her beloved pet's death.

Bernadette and Rodney are the best of friends. Rodney's not so good at playing cards, but he's great at staring contests. His favorite food is lettuce, though he eats it VERRRRRRY SLOOOOOWLY. And he's such a joker! When Bernadette goes to sleep at night, Rodney is always there, watching over her from his tank.

As the seasons pass, Rodney moves slower and slower, until one day he stops moving at all. Without Rodney, Bernadette feels all alone. She can't stop thinking about him, but none of her friends seem to notice. Except for Amar.

Rodney Was a Tortoise is a moving story about friendship and loss. It shows the importance of expressing kindness and empathy, especially in life's most difficult moments.

(synopsis from Goodreads)

The synopsis pretty much explains the whole book, but you really do need to read the book to understand what a special little story this is. The text and accompanying illustrations are subtly amusing, showing the emotional connection of a little girl and her pet tortoise. When Rodney dies, none of Bernadette's friends seem to notice how upset she is; life goes on for them, and they're all wrapped up in their own lives while she mourns in her own quiet, lonely way. It's Amar who finally reaches out, with empathy and compassion, and Bernadette finds a new friend who can relate to what she's going through.

This is a book about empathy. It's such a simple concept, but not always easy to get right in a picture book. I think Rodney Was a Tortoise does exactly what it sets out to do, providing a message of hope and comfort. It would be a great book for any reader who has experienced the loss of a beloved pet.

Thank you to NetGalley and Tundra Books (NY) for providing a digital ARC.

Premise: 5/5
Meter: n/a
Writing: 5/5
Illustrations: 4/5
Originality: 5/5

Enjoyment: 4/5

Overall: 4.5 out of 5

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