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donnaodonnellfigurski.com - TUDLEY DIDN'T KNOW
Tudley Didn't Know
Tudley Didn't Know

written and illustrated by John Himmelman
Sylvan Dell Publishing
ISBN: 0976494361
Ages 3 – 8

Peter Pan believed he could fly. The Little Engine believed that she could pull the toy train over the mountain. Many people believe in a pot of gold at the end of a rainbow and some folks believe in fairies. (If you believe in fairies, then clap your hands. I’m clapping and I hear a lot of other clapping hands, too.) Believe!

Tudley believed! Well not in fairies or the pot of gold, but he did believe in himself . . . or was he just naïve? Either way, his belief or his naiveté opened a whole new world to him.

Sometimes if you think you can’t do something – you can’t. BUT, put a positive spin on it, and you may find you can do just about anything you set your mind to. Tudley didn’t know that turtles couldn’t fly or hop or sing or make their tails glow. It never crossed his mind. And so he did fly and hop and sing and he made his tail glow, too, though his turtle friends shook their heads in amazement and disbelief.

Tudley made a lot of interesting friends – ones you might think a turtle wouldn’t have . . . I mean if a turtle really does have friends. There was a hummingbird, I have a particular fondness for hummingbirds, and so I was glad to see her in the story. There was a firefly and a tadpole and a frog, and even a katydid. Tudley helped them all when they found themselves in trouble. So it was no wonder that when Tudley found his world suddenly turned upside down, literally upside down, as he was trapped on top of a rock pile and didn’t know what to do, his friends were there to help him. Tudley knew how to help his friends, but he was at a loss to help himself, until his friends showed him how. He just had to believe in himself . . . and that’s what Tudley does best.

This review can also be seen on: SmartWriters
FROM the MOUTHS of KIDDLE CRITers: a critique group

“Tudley is a turtle,” said Timmy.

Nina nodded. “He’s a green turtle,” she said.

“But, he’s different from other turtles,” said Jewel.

“He can do all sorts of things,” said Jake.

“Tudley can fly,” said Jane. She waved her arms pretending to fly.

“And, he can hop and make music,” said Melia.

“He can sing like a katydid, too,” said Jake.

“And . . . make his tail glow,” said Ethan.

“He is special,” said Jewel, “He’s different from the other turtles.”

“Tudley can do a lot of things, said Jane, “ . . . things that the other turtles can’t do.”

“He’s very . . . well . . . unique,” said Jake trying to find just the right description.

“Tudley does have a unique personality,” Pritka agreed, “but he is a confused little turtle,” she said with a giggle.

Jewel giggled, too, and then said, “Tudley likes to help other animals.”

“He helped the firefly when she fell in the water,” said Pritka,” and he helped the hummingbird when part of her nest fell.”

Ethan cut in, “ He helped a frog, too,” he said.

“If I were Tudley,” said Sarit, “I would help everyone.”

“But, then Tudley fell out of a tree,” said Nina.

“And fell on a rock, said Jane.

“Then he couldn’t do anything,” said Ethan.

“Tudley didn’t know that he could go inside his shell,” said Jake.

“So the firefly got the elder turtles,” said Ethan. “And with their brains,” he continued,” they helped Tudley get off of the rock safely.”

“They told Tudley to tuck his body in,” said Jane. “And then he rocked in his shell and he rolled.”

“Basically,” said Jake, “this story was setting a moral. If you believe you can do it, you probably will be able to do it . . . as long as it’s not too extreme.”

“I agree with that,” said Sarit.

Ethan looked like he was pondering that thought, then he said, “Like . . . I never thought that I could ride a scooter because I thought that I would fall and break most of my bones, but once I started practicing, I found that I could ride a scooter.”

“Hmmm . . . “ said Pritka. “I was having a lot of trouble with fractions in school, then my aunt taught me a really good trick and she told me that if I believed, I could do it, and I really could do it!”

“You might not be able to do it at first,” said Jake, “but at least you’ll give an effort.”

“Like Tudley!” Pritka interrupted. “He believes he can do anything!”


I BELIEVE – TUDLEY DID! Language Arts/Writing

“If only you believe like I believe, baby . . .!” Hey, the Miracles sang that song a long time ago. I wonder if they knew Tudley. Or . . . maybe Tudley listened to that song and it inspired him to do anything he wanted to. Anyhow, miracles sometimes do happen if you believe. Open the world of believable to your Kiddles. Make a list of all of their “unbelievable” believable ideas on Chart Paper.

1. Have the Kiddles think of things that they believe they can do. They can be realistic
things or “far out” things.
2. Elicit an idea from each Kiddle and list all their suggestions on Chart Paper.
3. Then type each idea into the computer and pass out a copy to each Kiddle.
I believe I can fly to the moon. by Sheena
I believe I will drive a car someday. by Elene
I believe I can eat a can of worms. by Miles
I believe I can ride on a cow. by Grace
4. Next, give each Kiddle an empty booklet with enough pages in it to accommodate each
idea. (Booklet - 4” x 9” manila paper pages sandwiched between colored-construction
paper covers)
5. Then have them glue an “I Believe” idea on each page of their booklet.
6. Finally, have them illustrate each page. Stress the importance of illustrating what the
text states, and making their illustrations beautiful.
7. When books are complete, have Kiddles meet as a group for a story-share. Then store
the books in a basket in the classroom library, so the Kiddles can read them during
free reading time.


Turtles may be slow, but this art/math activity will surely speed up the pace for your Kiddles.


Paper plate
Green construction paper for turtle shell
Brown construction paper for head, legs, and tail
Oval tracer shapes for turtle legs
Oval tracer shapes for turtle head
Triangle tracer shapes for turtle tail

1. Give each Kiddle a round paper plate.
2. Have them color the paper plate green.
3. Then set out enough tracers in the shapes of triangles and ovals to make the turtle head,
legs, and tail.
4. Have Kiddles trace four oval legs, one large oval head, and one triangle tail and glue
each piece to the underside of the plate in the form of a turtle.
5. Have the children use a marker to write a number from 0 to 9 on each leg. Then add up
the numbers and write the answer on the underside of the turtle.
2 + 3 + 7 + 0 = 12
4 + 5 + 3 + 1 = 13
6. Then they can add eyes and decorate the carapace, the shell covering the top of the
turtle’s body.
7. Place the completed turtles in an old aquarium or store in the math area.
8. During “free choice” math time, the Kiddles can test their addition speed by how quickly
they can add up the turtle’s legs.

NOTE: Click on this URL for turtle templates.

(Although I examined these websites and found them to be very helpful, please use them at your own discretion.)

YAHOOLIGANS! Animals: Eastern Painted Turtle


Let’s Draw a Turtle With Half Circles by Joanne Randolph; illustrated by Emily Muschinske
Turtle Rescue by Pamela Hickman
Turtles in My Sandbox by Jennifer Keats Curtis; illustrated by Emanuel Schongut
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