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4.42  ·  Rating details ·  353 ratings  ·  107 reviews
"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 th
ebook, 40 pages
Published July 9th 2019 by Atheneum Books for Young Readers
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4.42  · 
Rating details
 ·  353 ratings  ·  107 reviews

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Jul 09, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A sweet first day of school story told from the perspective of the turtle left at home. A lovely, quiet read aloud!
Jan 09, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I love, love, love this book. Tuman is the most adorable little tortoise. This picture book is about friendship and love & the lengths that you will go for them, even when it all seems impossible. I was smiling on every page.
La Coccinelle
Jul 29, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: children
Aww. This is too cute.

This simple story is about a tortoise named Truman who lives with a little girl named Sarah (adorably referred to as "his Sarah") in an apartment above a busy street. One morning, she gives him some extra green beans, takes her "large" backpack, and gets on the bus! Truman waits and waits for her to return, but when she doesn't, he decides he'll just have to get on that bus and go after her himself. The only problem is, he's in a tank on the far side of the living room.

Jul 06, 2019 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Readers Looking for Children's Stories About Tortoises/Turtles and/or the First Day of School
When his little girl goes away one day, riding the 11 Bus southward, Truman the tiny tortoise becomes anxious, especially when she doesn't come back for some time. Finding a way out of his terrarium, he sets out on an epic cross-apartment journey, determined to catch up with Sarah, even if he has to take the 11 Bus himself...

The classic "first day of school" story is told from a different perspective in Truman, which offers the pet's-eye-view of the big day when children set out for the first ti
Oh, my heart! I gritted my teeth as I started this book, because you know I cannot approve of keeping turtles as pets. But this book is so amazing, it helped me believe that this turtle truly loves his home in an aquarium in an apartment, because he absolutely adores his girl. Wherever she is is home. I love his bravery--and how the girl tells him to be brave, and you realize later that she's really trying to muster up her own courage! (I'm always telling my problem dog to be brave, so that part ...more
Lynn Plourde
Jul 22, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: picturebook
It's a love story (pet tortoise & girl love story). It's a back-to-school book. It's sweet in the best sense of the word (both the story and the illustrations). Bravo for the book and for the brave tortoise!
I love books that come at classic themes sideways, like the way School's First Day of School presents starting-school-jitters from a totally fresh POV.

Now I have a new favorite for a new school year—the sweet turtle TRUMAN is one of the most charming characters I’ve met in a long time. I’m thoroughly smitten, Jean Reidy, Lucy Ruth Cummins.
Deb (Readerbuzz) Nance
Truman is the peaceful and pensive turtle of peaceful and pensive Sarah. But one day Truman infers from all the clues---a big backpack, a big bow, a brand new sweater, a big goodbye---that Sarah has gone somewhere much farther than usual, and that he needs to search for her. Truman bravely sets out.

Jean Reidy brilliantly helps her readers enter the mind of a peaceful, pensive (and quite brave) turtle. It's a back-to-school story that will surprise and delight.
Erin Buhr
Jul 13, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: 2019-books
One of the most delightful and unexpected back to school books I have ever read. This is Sarah's first day of school, but it is told through the eyes of her sweet turtle, Truman. Sarah leaves and it feels different this time and Truman decides to go after her. The world through the eyes of a turtle is so dear and their relationship even more so. A great story to share any time of the year, but particularly when one must be brave before a first day.
Katie Reilley
Aug 01, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Sweet picture book about friendship and the lengths one (turtle) will go for his Sarah. Would be a good first day read aloud. Will read for #classroombookaday with my 5th grade students. Loved the illustrations.
Jul 31, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Truman seems a bit worried when Sarah leaves him.
Aug 01, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Truman and "his Sarah" are SO CUTE. Charming, creative twist on the anxieties that come with starting school.
Raven Black
A fun book. Not 100% to my tastes but a lot to love. The illustrations have a unique flavor of being sophisticated & childlike.
Aug 05, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: childrens
Adorbs. Now I think I need to go out and get myself a pet turtle.
Aug 12, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: picture-books
Picture book perfection.
Jul 12, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: childrens
My heart cannot take the beauty of the book.
This adorable picture book would be terrific to share with young readers getting ready to go to school, especially those starting school for the first time. The book shares the story of Truman, a little tortoise who loves his Sarah so much, because she seems to be an awful lot like him - quiet and pensive (there's a word for young readers to learn). Everything is just fine in the nice, peaceful apartment. But when Sarah leaves Truman behind with extra food and disappears onto the city bus down b ...more
Jul 18, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Love pushes aside fear and makes us brave. We do and say things we would never do or say except when motivated by love. If we feel the recipient of our affection is in a precarious situation, we race to the rescue.

Science is still trying to decipher the development of lasting bonds between animals and humans. For animals and their humans, science is not needed. The love is tangible. Truman (Atheneum Books for Young Readers, July 9, 2019) written by Jean Reidy with illustrations by Lucy Ruth Cumm
Meg Allen
Aug 19, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: books-1-20
This book is about a tortoise, Truman, who's owner, Sarah, leaves for the day. He was so distraught; he decided he was going to get on a bus and go after her. After a long day of making the journey across the apartment, Sarah made it home to save him from the outside world. Truman teaches a lesson for the reader as he exhibits bravery throughout his journey.
This book was heartwarming. I personally love the bond between animals and their owners. This story addresses the stron
Jun 24, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: yabc-reviews
See my full review here:

TRUMAN is an unbelievably sweet story about a tortoise. Truman the tortoise lives with his best friend and owner Sarah, whom he loves. One day, Sarah gives him some extra green beans and tells him to be brave before he sees her take the number 11 bus going south. Truman noticed her bigger backpack and the extra green beans, and he becomes concerned. He waits a long time before he does something very brave- he decides to take the nu
Aug 05, 2019 rated it really liked it
Shelves: picture-books
Truman is a small urban turtle. He’s about the size of a donut and lives with Sarah high above the busy streets filled with taxis and buses. He is very happy spending quiet time with Sarah. But then one day, Sarah seems different. She is wearing a bow in her hair, a new sweater and has a big backpack. She even gives him some extra green beans as a treat. Before Sarah leaves, she touches Truman and tells him to be brave. And down on the street, Sarah boards a bus for the first time! Truman tries ...more
Tonja Drecker
Jul 04, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Peaceful and pensive (and not bigger than a doughnut) describes Truman in a story about bravery, love and devotion.

Truman is a small turtle, who enjoys his life with his owner/friend, Sarah. All is peaceful until one day he notices she behaves slightly different. When she gets on Bus 11, his peaceful world slowly turns to worry. Until he discovers a new trait, bravery, and decides to find Sarah on his own.

Truman is adorable! He holds the calmness and devotion of a true turtle in every way, but a
Sandy Brehl
Truman is certainly the most appealing, charming, donut-sized tortoise you'll ever meet. He's also very clever, recognizing subtle changes in in his dear friend, Sarah, on the day she prepares to to go to school of the first time. From his window-view tank, Truman's logic leads him on a grand adventure to "be brave" and go in search of Sarah, who he watched climb ON THE BUS!
His deep-seated commitment to Sarah, flawless logic, and impressive determination lead him out, onward, and unwilling to gi
Libbi Lance
Aug 31, 2019 added it
Shelves: books-1-20
Summary: Truman is a book about a brave tortoise who lives with its owner, Sarah. When he sees her doing something she has never done before, so does he. In his mind, his owner is never coming back, and he does what he has to do to find her.

Evaluation: I really enjoyed the book Truman. It was a great story that could be used in the lower elementary grades that could ease their fears about starting school. I like how the book was in the perspective of the tortoise and how the world looked so dif
Laurie Hnatiuk
Jul 10, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Truman is a turtle who belongs to Sarah. The quiet relationship between the two of them is refreshing and then story turns to a sharing a series of clues, a backpack, extra beans in his food dish, Sarah's words "Be Brave", and then leaving the apartment boarding the #11 bus that goes downtown. Readers young and old will be able to infer that Sarah has started school. The story now focuses on Truman and his willingness to go be with Sarah and the story turns to the perspective of the Truman and h ...more
Stephanie Croaning
Aug 24, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: 2019, picture-books
This is a story of friendship that examines the first day of school through the eyes of a pet that misses his special girl.

Picture book, fiction
by Jean Reidy; illustrated by Lucy Ruth Cummins
Atheneum Books for Young Readers, 2019
5 out of 5 stars

Truman is a small tortoise who is "peaceful and pensive, just like his Sarah." One morning, Sarah wears a new sweater, a bow in her hair, and wears a very large backpack. She gives Truman two extra green beans in his dish that morning. Then she boards a
Sarah Elisabeth
This book was about Sarah and her turtle, Truman. They were the best of friends but one day Sarah got on bus 11. This lead Truman to believe he must go and find Sarah because he missed her so much. He climbed out of his cage and had many obstacles in front of him but he was so determined to find Sarah. Although, when he was about to slip under the door leading to the outside she opened the door finding him on the rug. She picked him up and talked to him about how amazing he was. I thought this w ...more
Cyndi Giorgis
Sep 01, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Sarah and her tortoise, Truman, have a very special relationship. Truman was "peaceful and pensive, just like his Sarah." But when Sarah leaves for her first day of school and doesn't return right away, Truman starts to worry. After all, he did notice that her backpack was particularly big, and had eaten that big banana for breakfast, and was wearing a blue bow in her hair. And what about those two extra beans she had left in Truman's dish. So what's a Tortoise to do but go in search for "his Sa ...more
Bethany Duquette

Truman is a turtle who doesn't understand what is happening when his owner, Sarah goes to her first day of school. Follow Truman as he journeys across the room to make his way to her-demonstrating a deep love and devotion to her.


It is a good book in that teaches students about devotion to one another. It also teaches children that some simple things take longer for some than others. For example, it takes Truman all day to cross the room.

Teaching Idea:

It would be cool for stu
Jul 29, 2019 rated it really liked it
Shelves: childrens
Childrens picture book. Truman is a small tortoise that lives with "his Sarah" in the city. He notices one day she is acting weird-- feeding him more beans than usual, carrying a big backpack, and telling him to be brave. He worries about her and sets off to leave his tank and go after her. But the land outside his tank is intimidating, with dolls that are larger than life and an endless rug. By the time Truman has made it to the door, Sarah returns from her first day of school. A cute story wit ...more
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