SUNNY BOY! by Candace Fleming
Kirkus Star


The Life and Times of a Tortoise
by & illustrated by
Age Range: 7 - 9
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A century in the keeping of one sedate owner after another leaves a small tortoise utterly unprepared for life with a reckless daredevil. In a captivating memoir, Sunny Boy fondly recalls quiet years with a gardener, a stamp collector and a Latin scholar—followed by a decidedly upsetting stint with Biff, an enthusiast who embarks on a string of failed stunts, then resolves to take a trip over Niagara Falls in a barrel with, unfortunately, his trusty tortoise by his side. Telling the tale in an evocatively deliberate voice—“My world tipped. Now, instead of basking in the bright sunlight, I bounced and jostled about in Biff’s dank sidecar”—that brings out his character with the same clarity that the small, anxious-looking figure, cast into various perilous situations in Wilsdorf’s exuberantly drawn cartoons, does, Sunny Boy makes an engaging narrator indeed—particularly after the Niagara triumph actually leaves him with a taste for adventure, so long as it’s only occasional. Loosely based on a true episode that didn’t have such a happy ending (only the tortoise survived), this will delight both active and armchair daredevils. (afterword) (Picture book. 7-9)

Pub Date: Aug. 12th, 2005
ISBN: 0-374-37297-7
Page count: 40pp
Publisher: Melanie Kroupa/Farrar, Straus & Giroux
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 15th, 2005


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