TALLY TUTTLE TURNS INTO A TURTLE (CLASS CRITTERS #1), by Kathryn Holmes and Ariel Landy, Amulet Books, Aug. 31, 2021, Hardcover, $12.99 (ages 6-9)
Tally Tuttle Turns into a Turtle, by Kathryn Holmes and Ariel Landy, is the first book in a new series about a second-grade class where each kid turns into an animal for a day.
It’s Tally Tuttle’s first day of second grade, and she’s so nervous that she feels like she ate butterflies for breakfast! On top of moving to a new town and new school where she doesn’t know anyone, everyone starts teasing her when her full name, Tallulah, is revealed during roll call. She just wishes she could retreat into a shell . . . Then, all of a sudden, the desks and her classmates around her seem enormous, and Tally is shell-shocked to discover that she’s actually turned into a turtle! She’d heard that Mrs. Norrell’s class was special, but she hadn’t expected this. Tally likes having a shell to hide in, but there are other parts of turtle life — like the fear of being stepped on — that aren’t exactly ideal. And once she’s tired of hiding, how can she change back into a girl? Tally will have to forge her own transformation back to herself and come out of her shell — both literally and figuratively! —Synopsis provided by Amulet Books
At our house, we’re fans of a number of series from Abrams Kids — Big Foot and Little Foot; Didi Dodo, Future Spy; The First Names Series; Fox & Rabbit; Ghoulia; Miranda and Maude; and The Questioneers — and it looks like Class Critters is going to join the list. These books all have accessible and engaging text, short chapters, and expressive illustrations.
In the case of Class Critters, magic transforms kids into animals so that they might learn important life lessons. According to the publisher, “Each book will follow a different kid and their animal transformation, and will include fun natural science facts about the featured animal in the back matter.”
I handed Tally Tuttle Turns into a Turtle to my soon-to-be second-grader with instructions to read it and report back. Here’s what she had to say:
“It’s about a girl who gets turned into a turtle on her first day of school, and then she ends up outside and has to figure out how to turn back into a kid! It’s a funny adventure, but the best part is at the end when she gets friends. It says it’s Book 1, and I want to read more.”
If that’s not a glowing recommendation from a 7-year-old, then I don’t know what is.
The suggested age range is 6-9. And while my 6-year-old would have enjoyed it, I think she’ll have outgrown it by the end of this school year, way before she turns 9.