Recommended Age, Grade, and Reading Levels
- Age: 4 to 8
- Grade: p to 3
- Reading age: 4 to 8
An NPR Favorite Book of 2019
A New York Times Best Children’s book of 2019
A Kirkus Reviews Best Picture Book of 2019
A School Library Journal Best Picture Book of 2019
"An enchanting tale of bravery, heroism, and undying devotion." —The New York Times Book Review
After his best friend Sarah leaves for her first day of school, a tortoise named Truman goes on an adventure across the living room and learns to be brave in this thoughtful and heartwarming twist on a first experience story.
Truman the tortoise lives with his Sarah, high above the taxis and the trash trucks and the number eleven bus, which travels south. He never worries about the world below…until one day, when Sarah straps on a big backpack and does something Truman has never seen before. She boards the bus!
Truman waits for her to return.
And when he can wait no longer, he knows what he must do.
Even if it seems…impossible!
About the authors
Jean Reidy’s bestselling and award-winning picture books have earned their spots as favorites among readers and listeners of all ages and from all over the world. Her books include Truman and Sylvie, both illustrated by Lucy Ruth Cummins. She is a three-time winner of the Colorado Book Award, a Parents’ Choice Gold Award winner, a Charlotte Zolotow Honor winner, and recognized on “Best of” lists by School Library Journal, The New York Times, NPR, and Amazon. Jean writes from her home in Colorado where she lives right across the street from her neighborhood library…which she visits nearly every day. Visit her at JeanReidy.com.
Lucy Ruth Cummins is an author, an illustrator, and art director of children’s books. She has been happily paired with Jean Reidy for Truman, which was named a New York Times Best Children’s Book of 2019, and Sylvie. She also is the author-illustrator of A Hungry Lion, or A Dwindling Assortment of Animals; Stumpkin; and Vampenguin. When she was little, she had a pet spider in the shed where her dad kept the lawnmower. Every day little Lucy caught flies and placed them in her spider’s web at mealtimes. Lucy was born in Montreal, raised in upstate New York, and lives with her little family in Brooklyn, New York.
"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....Observational humor, clear affection between Truman and Sarah, and bold adventure make this a memorable pet-owner love story."
April 22, 2019
"Truman’s seemingly small accomplishment will give readers and viewers cause to celebrate and appreciate the things they achieve every day, no matter the size."
"Jean Reidy captures the vastness of the world and the courage required to sally forth...in this sweet tale of valor, affection, and enterprise."
“Utterly heartwarming ... Children will be eager to hear what their pets go through while they’re away at school, and the uplifting story of friendship and bravery will satisfy widely. Using gouache, brush marker, charcoal, and colored pencil, Cummins has rendered in Truman a character so indisputably adorable that, coupled with Reidy’s soulful characterization, he will have readers of all ages falling in love."
June 1, 2019
* "The ending...is just right....Peaceful and pensive like Truman himself, this book charms; there's just something uplifting and wonderful about the whole package. Never underestimate the feats an animal will brave in order to be reunited with their loved ones."
* "Charming and humorous illustrations...Tiny Truman is endearing and his adoration, concern, and determination are reflected on his little face. VERDICT A heartwarming tale of devotion that will be enjoyed by children and their adults."
"An enchanting tale of bravery, heroism and undying devotion....Cummins's delectable art captures the warm, witty heart of the story."
August 18, 2019
"At the heart of this story, paralleling a child’s own first journey into the unknown that is school, is the affectionate relationship between Sarah and Truman...and there’s much humor and drama in Truman’s exertions. Cummins’s relaxed-line, mixed-media illustrations bring the family’s cozy world to life, and the occasional use of a larger, bolder font emphasizes the heroics needed for Truman’s journey. This little creature has big courage, something to which small humans can relate."