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Back to School Tortoise

3.94  ·  Rating details ·  188 ratings  ·  51 reviews
It's time to go back to school. But Tortoise is worried. What if he falls down? What if he doesn't like lunch? What if the kids are mean to him? What if he falls down, doesn't like lunch, and the kids are mean to him? The perfect back-to-school book about being brave, with a surprise at the end! ...more
Hardcover, 24 pages
Published 2011 by Albert Whitman (first published February 28th 2009)
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Average rating 3.94  · 
Rating details
 ·  188 ratings  ·  51 reviews

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Sep 05, 2019 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Anyone Looking for Fun Picture-Books About Going Back to School
Summer has come to an end, and Tortoise heads back to school in this charming picture-book. Along the way he begins to envision all the possible ways that things can go wrong. What if he trips? What if he hates lunch? What if the children are mean to him? But then, on the steps of the school itself, he envisions a different set of possibilities, and he finds the courage to go on...

With a simple but engaging text from British author Lucy M. George, and adorable illustrations from Belgian illustra
Sep 01, 2017 rated it it was amazing
really cute book about first day of school jitters. loved the ending.
Krista Lineweaver
Feb 24, 2012 rated it really liked it
This book, Back to School Tortoise by Lucy M. George, is a nursery aged picturebook. It is about a tortoise that is nervous to go back to school. He is worried that he won't make any friends, but in the end he walks into the classroom and all is well. This book can be read in a group furing circle time or individually with a teacher or adult. The children will love the illustrations that are very bright and colorful. The children could point to the animals and name different ones, or the childre ...more
Aug 26, 2014 rated it really liked it
Sweet Back-to-School Book... with a heartwarming twist!
Camille Rickis
Nov 30, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
An absolutely delightful picture book with gloriously humorous lessons about being brave and doing the things you are afraid to do with confidence. The illustrations do a wonderful job of expressing the emotion of the characters, which cannot be found in the simple and short language of the text. And the cute twist ending is enough to make you clutch the book to your chest as you are overcome with giggles and smiles! A must-read, especially for teachers and educators.
Aug 25, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: read-2019
I think Back to School Tortoise is wonderful. It touches on all the "What if" fears a child has about going back to school with salt water taffy colored illustrations and a fun surprise ending that made this Grandma laugh right out loud.

It may be too easy reading for some children but Back to School Tortoise rightfully deserves all 5 stars.
Jo Oehrlein
Jan 27, 2020 rated it liked it
Shelves: picture-books
I think most kids will find this funny the first time. I'm not sure how often they will find it funny, though? It probably depends on the kid.

It's time for Tortoise to go back to school and he's worried. Maybe people won't like him. He finally gets up the nerve to go inside the school and, of course, things are great. We learn that Tortoise is the teacher!
Lisa Delaine Youngblood
Sep 01, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: storytime
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Jan 01, 2018 rated it really liked it
Great picture book with a surprising twist at the end!
Rachel Smith
Jun 09, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Read this PB about 5 times today because I can't get over it. So much adorable. ...more
Jul 16, 2021 rated it really liked it
Cute illustrations, fun surprise ending.
Nov 27, 2011 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Picture books with messages of getting ready to go back to school, an event dreaded by most children, abound. Yet, this story has a unique twist. Tortoise is not your average animal getting ready to go back to school. The reader follows along as he says walks along to school, imagining all the ways his first day can go awry. But, “as bravely as he could” Tortoise decides to open the door into the classroom. Beyond delightful, this story provides a fresh new look on an old routine. Painted in ear ...more
Caroline Downer
Sep 22, 2013 rated it really liked it
I thought "Back to School Tortoise" was an interesting book, and very cute. The illustrations are adorable and the twist at the end of the story completely caught me by surprise! The story is about a tortoise gearing up for his first day back at school. He is at first excited, but then gets nervous thinking about all the things that could go wrong. Then, the tortoise begins to think positively and works up the courage to enter the classroom. At the end of the story the reader realizes that the t ...more
Stef Rozitis
Jun 17, 2014 rated it it was ok
Shelves: early-childhood
(spoiler alerts) I dunno, I am all about eroding the dichotomy between teachers and students, but the twist at the end of my book left me and the children going wtf? It didn't fit a child's world view it was an adult joke essentially but neither written in an adult nor an accessible to the child sort of a way. The protagonist is referred to as "he" and doesn't have a name (not even Tortoise) which makes the books seem sort of rushed and half thought-out.

My little critical literacy experts were
Deb (Readerbuzz) Nance
Nov 22, 2011 rated it really liked it
Shelves: schools, picture-book
A little story taken from a joke that’s been widely circulated among teachers. Tortoise gets up. It’s the first day of school. But on the way to school, Tortoise begins to worry that he won’t be liked and he won’t have fun. He decides to sit outside the classroom, too scared to go in. Then he starts to imagine all the fun he might be missing and goes in. The class greets him, saying, “Good morning, Mr. Tortoise.”

“Tortoise got up,
got dressed,
and had breakfast.
Then he left for school.
But he starte
When summer ends, Tortoise is nervous about going back to school. He hesitates, and runs through all the "what-ifs" in his mind. Finally gaining his courage, he steps into the classroom and heads to the front-he is the teacher! PreK-Grade 2.

Curriculum Connection: This would be a great book for those first days back to school with little ones, to discuss that everyone has anxiety and fears about new situations,not just children. It offers reassurance that even their teacher is nervous on the firs
Catherine Austen
Feb 04, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: picture-books
Loved it, loved it, loved it. The illustrations are just wonderful - I love the colours (that gorgeous green) and the white spaces and big lettering and the way we're led through the story. Tortoise's mug is just adorable. And the story of his fears is relevant to kids of all ages. There are many picture books about being scared to go to school - this one was especially charming for me.

And the ending, well, I was loving this book before the awesome ending but after that final page I was truly s
Mar 10, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Read this with my 4 year old son.
The story follows Tortoise as he gets ready to go back to school after the Summer holidays. However he has mixed feelings about it all. What if the others don't like him, what if he trips and falls over but what if he really enjoys it and makes some good friends.
Will Tortoise be brave enough to go to school?
We both enjoyed it and my son did understand the twist at the end of the story and thought it was hilarious!
The cute ending on this pushed it up to a four for me. On his first day back at school, Tortoise worries. What if he trips? What if he doesn't like lunch? But then he also "what ifs" good things, too, like his favorite lunch and making new friends. He decides he can go through with the first day despite his fears, and the cute twist at the end will charm little ones. ...more
Nov 15, 2012 rated it liked it
Shelves: ed-310
Just as it says in the title, I think this book would be great to read when the children come back to school. Some of the characters in the book are not excited to go back to school, but int he end they all are happy to be back and excited to learn which I think is a great way to start the year off. The illustrations are also fun for the kids and have fun animal characters.
Karen Burt
May 30, 2013 rated it liked it
"Back to School Tortoise" is a back to school book that emphasizes the bravery involved in meeting and making new friends. This book says what many kids feel at the beginning of school. The illustrations show the different emotions that go into the first day of school. This story would also be a good "quick check" book to see which students pick up on the twist at the end. ...more
Aug 22, 2011 rated it really liked it
Tortoise gets up and prepares for school with "what if's" in this head...both positive and negative. As he enters the classroom, children will giggle with surprise and delight to find what role he plays in the group. ...more
Sep 21, 2014 rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: PreK-K
3.75 A cute back to school story with a twist at the end. The pictures are cute - I only wish the tortoise's dream lunch wasn't a bunch of sweets (that's the daughter of a dietitian in me). For PreK/K ...more
Jennifer Fenn
Aug 09, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: zadie
If you need a gift for a teacher, especially a new graduate or a teacher launching his or her career in September, this is an adorable gift! Trust me!! The ending literally made me laugh out loud!!!
Debby Baumgartner
Mar 08, 2011 rated it liked it
Shelves: surprise, ending
Simple story for preschoolers - second grade about the beginning of school with a surprise ending.
Aug 04, 2011 rated it liked it
Shelves: read-picture
Cute and simple. Very basic, but not bad for tackling the beginning school jitters.
Aug 08, 2011 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: picture-books
An endearing "twist" on the back-to-school theme. As a former teacher, something I could definitely relate to! ...more
Aug 15, 2011 rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: teachers
Shelves: picture
Cute twist at the end.
Aug 23, 2011 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: storytime-books
school, teachers, friends, feelings
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