Reviews for Tumford the Terrible:
The Chicago Tribune
“a Puss-in-boots extraordinaire.”
Amazon Best Books of the Month, June 2011
“In spite of the manners he often forgot, he would not say, “I’m sorry.” Oh no, he would not.” With these memorable words we get to know Tumford, a well-meaning but stubborn kitty, who has a habit of hiding when his mischievous ways call for an apology. Tumford’s owners’ love for him never wavers, and after an incident with the Queen of the Fair he finds the courage to say, “I’m sorry.” In true Tillman style, Tumford the Terrible is beautifully illustrated and reassuring for little ones, reminding them that “love isn’t measured in muddy galoshes, broken tea dishes, or trampled on squashes.” — Seira Wilson
Barnes & Noble
When the author of On the Night You Were Born and The Wonder of You gifts us with a new picture book, children and parents take notice. The title character of Nancy Tillman’s latest opus isn’t a new version of Ivan the Terrible; he’s a slightly hapless cat who somehow always gets into trouble. With no ill intent, he creates messes, disrupts parties and raises havoc at the Village Fair. His owners understand that his feline clumsiness is just natural; what they can’t comprehend is his apparent inability to say that he’s sorry. This story is truly adorable; the book’s photo-collages make it doubly so.
Tumford exists to deliver a lesson on the importance of apologizing sincerely; with his chubby tummy and slick yellow boots, he looks as if he might have had some interesting adventures, but Tillman (On the Night You Were Born) stays on message. On the first page, Tumford claws a checked tablecloth to get to a plate of pancakes—he’s always in trouble—but his owners Violet and George don’t mind that so much as his inability to apologize (“In spite of the manners he often forgot,/ he would not say, ‘I’m sorry,’/ Oh no, he would not.”). During a trip to the fair, Tumford spills fish on the Village Fair queen and, after a fierce inner battle, resolves to do the right thing: “I’ll bet you’ve guessed what comes next in the story./ Tumford stepped forward and said he was sorry.” Extra-vivid impact is provided by photo-collage illustrations that combine winning images of Tumford (he has just the right insouciant, “I’m-not-apologizing” look) with props like teddy bears and teapots. Fans of Tillman’s heart-on-her-sleeve sentimentality will be drawn to this as surely as Tumford is drawn to Twinklefish pie.
If you haven’t discovered Nancy Tillman, prepare yourself for a feast for your eyes and your mind. Naughty Tumford leaps off the pages with his endearing, yet exasperating behavior and refusal to say those three little words. No, not those. These: “I am sorry.”