Rodney Was a Tortoise by Nan Forler, illustrated by Yong Ling Kang

Published by Tundra Books

Summary:  Bernadette’s oldest friend is Rodney, a tortoise is older than she is, older than her dad, even older than her Great-Aunt Clara.  Bernadette loves to play games with Rodney, to bring him to school for show and tell, and to read to him before bedtime.  Rodney has always been slow, but he gradually gets slower until one day he dies.  Bernadette brings her grief with her to school, where it feels like the other kids don’t really care.  Like Rodney, she sits on a rock at recess, drawing deeper into her shell.  Then one day, a boy named Amar climbs onto the rock with her, acknowledging her sadness about Rodney and remembering some good things that he remembers about the tortoise.  Amar used to have a budgie named Samuel, so he’s not unfamiliar with loss.  Bernadette responds by inviting Amar over for a game of Crokinole, something she used to enjoy with Rodney.  40 pages; ages 4-8.

Pros:  This gentle tale of love and loss will resonate with anyone who has ever experienced grief.  

Cons:  I had never heard of Crokinole and had to use my context clues to figure out what it is.

March 12, 2022 at 07:27PM Janet Dawson