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Sunny Boy!: The Life and Times of a Tortoise Hardcover – July 14, 2005


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Editorial Reviews

From School Library Journal

Kindergarten-Grade 3–Inspired by an actual event, this saga makes for wildly entertaining reading. Sunny Boy is a self-described placid personality who longs …for the quiet life. Fate unkindly snatches the young tortoise from his peaceable kingdom for the nefarious purpose of sending him …bound for the soup pots of New York City's finest restaurants! A funny thing happens, though, on the way to his demise, when he is ejected from his carrying box onto the table of an unsuspecting diner at a sidewalk café. Thus begins the terrapin's long association with the male line of the gentleman's family. Because of Sunny Boy's great longevity, he lives with his savior for a time and then is passed down to three generations of nephews, finally landing with Biff the brave. Unlike his predecessors, Biff is an adventurer and a daredevil. With extreme trepidation, the tortoise becomes involved with the fellow's perilous pursuits, ending with a stunt involving a barrel and Niagara Falls. All's well that ends well as Sunny Boy discovers the fascination of an occasional walk on the wild side when balanced with calmer pastimes. This rollicking romp represents a wonderful marriage of text and illustration. The comical cartoon narrative, somewhat reminiscent of Quentin Blake's work, enhances the textual flow of the story. Not to be missed is the author's fascinating historical note describing the basis for this somewhat tall tale. Wacky and sure to elicit a giggle, this one is a winner.–Rosalyn Pierini, San Luis Obispo City-County Library, CA
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

From Booklist

K-Gr. 2. Sunny Boy the tortoise wanted only to live a long, quiet life, but fate intervened: Pelonius Pimplewhite, a horticulturist, took him home. When the scientist died, Sunny Boy went to live with Pelonius' nephew, Cornelius. Later, he lived with Cornelius' nephew, Augustus, and finally, Augustus' nephew, Biff, a self-proclaimed daredevil. Unfortunately, Biff fizzles as a human cannonball and flops as a wing walker. Determined to try one last stunt, Biff roars off to Niagara Falls and builds a barrel for going over the falls. Just as the lid is closing, someone tosses Sunny Boy inside, and man and beast have the wildest ride of their lives. The energetic cartoon artwork combines foolhardiness with fun, and an author's note, "The Truth behind the Tale," discusses the real-life incident on which this book is based. Kids won't necessarily care about the facts, but they will whoop over the silliness and derring-do. Julie Cummins
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved
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Product Details

  • Age Range: 5 - 8 years
  • Lexile Measure: 480L (What's this?)
  • Hardcover: 40 pages
  • Publisher: Farrar, Straus and Giroux (BYR); First Edition edition (August 12, 2005)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0374372977
  • ISBN-13: 978-0374372972
  • Product Dimensions: 9.1 x 0.4 x 11.3 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 12.8 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,653,926 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

I have always been a storyteller. Even before I could write my name, I could tell a good tale. And I told them all the time. As a preschooler, I told my neighbors all about my three-legged cat named Spot. In kindergarten, I told my classmates about the ghost that lived in my attic. And in first grade I told my teacher, Miss Harbart, all about my family's trip to Paris, France.

I told such a good story that people always thought I was telling the truth. But I wasn't. I didn't have a three-legged cat or a ghost in my attic, and I'd certainly never been to Paris, France. I simply enjoyed telling a good story... and seeing my listener's reaction.

Sure, some people might have said I was a seven-year old fibber. But not my parents. Instead of calling my stories "fibs" they called them "imaginative." They encouraged me to put my stories down on paper. I did. And amazingly, once I began writing, I couldn't stop. I filled notebook after notebook with stories, poems, plays. I still have many of those notebooks. They're precious to me because they are a record of my writing life from elementary school on.

In second grade, I discovered a passion for language. I can still remember the day my teacher, Miss Johnson, held up a horn-shaped basket filled with papier-mache pumpkins and asked the class to repeat the word "cornucopia." I said it again and again, tasted the word on my lips. I tested it on my ears. That afternoon, I skipped all the way home from school chanting, "Cornucopia! Cornucopia!" From then on, I really began listening to words--to the sounds they made, and the way they were used, and how they made me feel. I longed to put them together in ways that were beautiful, and yet told a story.

As I grew, I continued to write stories. But I never really thought of becoming an author. Instead, I went to college where I discovered yet another passion--history. I didn't realize it then, but studying history is really just an extension of my love of stories. After all, some of the best stories are true ones -- tales of heroism and villainy made more incredible by the fact they really happened.

After graduation, I got married and had children. I read to them a lot, and that's when I discovered the joy and music of children's books. I simply couldn't get enough of them. With my two sons in tow, I made endless trips to the library. I read stacks of books. I found myself begging, "Just one more, pleeeeease!" while my boys begged for lights-out and sleep. Then it struck me. Why not write children's books? It seemed the perfect way to combine all the things I loved: stories, musical language, history, and reading. I couldn't wait to get started.

But writing children's books is harder than it looks. For three years I wrote story after story. I sent them to publisher after publisher. And I received rejection letter after rejection letter. Still, I didn't give up. I kept trying until finally one of my stories was pulled from the slush pile and turned into a book. My career as a children's author had begun.

For more information visit my website: www.candacefleming.com.

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful A Kid's Review on December 15, 2005
Format: Hardcover
Sunny Boy is an amazing book! It lets you visualize things beyond your imagination. Its about a tortoise that loves to lay in the sun. Then he goes to live with Mr.Pimplewhite. After that he goes and does all this amazing stuff! He does so many things in his life that I want to do in mine. I suggest that you get to a library or some place that has bboks and get started on reading Sunny Boy right now. Even thuogh the story isn't very long it is still a great book that I think you should read.If I like it then I know that you will love it. After I read it once I thought it was so good that I read it again and again. It gets better and better every time I read it.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
My kids loves this fun book. Highly recommend for 3-5 years olds. Is a fun way to get kids to know about things not often in their path at that age- such as Niagara Falls.
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