Tumble & Blue

Book review by
Kyle Jackson, Common Sense Media
Tumble & Blue Book Poster Image
Boy and girl team up to find new fates in magical adventure.

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A lot or a little?

The parents' guide to what's in this book.

Educational Value

The book clocks in at 400 half-pages, so it makes for good practice for young readers. Shows colorful depiction of a small Georgia town on the edge of Okefenokee Swamp.

Positive Messages

Winning isn't everything. Never forget that you can be the hero of your own story.

Positive Role Models & Representations

Tumble is an optimistic, adventurous girl who wants to be a hero and rescue people. Blue is a good friend who wants to change his fate as a loser and rise above being neglected by his father. Blue's grandmother, Granny Eve, offers love and support to Blue and is dedicated to her family. 

Violence & Scariness

References to a deceased sibling and how he died. Scary/thrilling confrontation with alligators. 

Language

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that Tumble & Blue, by Cassie Beasley (Circus Mirandus), is a fun and heartfelt middle-grade chapter book about wacky family curses, optimistic 12-year-old girl Tumble and pessimistic 12-year-old boy Blue figuring out their identities, and the value of friendship. It's set in Murky Branch, Georgia, and there are some darker elements in each kid's family dynamic, including a deceased sibling and a father who doesn't seem too interested in connecting with his son. While this book is thick and nearly 400 pages, it's a quick, easy, and rewarding read. 

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What's the story?

TUMBLE & BLUE follows Blue Montgomery, a 12-year-old kid whose whole family was cursed by a talking alligator named Munch more than 100 years ago. Each Montgomery possesses a different "fate," some of which seem good -- Blue's Dad is a race car driver who always wins -- and some of which appear to be bad -- Blue always loses at any competition. The entire family has converged in the swampy small town of Murky Branch, Georgia, for the summer, battling for a chance to claim a new fate. Over the course of the summer, the lonesome Blue, left at his grandmother's house by his disinterested father, befriends his new neighbor, a girl named Tumble Wilson, who's an enthusiastic aspiring hero who wants to save the world and everyone in it. Together, the two of them try to uncover the mysterious secret of how to claim the new fate. Along the way, their friendship blossoms and they learn how to fit into their strange families and accept who they are. 

Is it any good?

This magic-filled tale is thrilling, touching, and tantalizing, filled with mystery and anticipation. Author Cassie Beasley's writing is clever and compelling, making the reader care about the characters and their trials and tribulations. The cursed and crazy Montgomery family members and their harebrained schemes make for an entertaining adventure, though the core of the novel is about growing up and finding your own destiny. While the ending may leave some wanting a more satisfying conclusion, the message about the value of friendship and selflessness shines through. 

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about the two kids' need to belong in Tumble & Blue. Have you ever thought something's wrong with you or that you don't belong? How do Tumble and Blue each learn to embrace who they are?

  • When Tumble meets her idol, Maximal Star, she's surprised to find that he's not at all like the person he pretends to be in his books. Can you think of any celebrities who project an image of themselves that doesn't match the reality? 

  • Do you believe some people are cursed? Or do you think people can choose -- or change -- their own fate? 

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