Sweet Apple Green,
in the tiniest cottage you've ever seen,
lives a cat causing trouble
within and without...
a cat named Tumford...
It comes as no surprise to we lovers of dogs, one and all, that a cat would be the source of trouble as the introduction to Tumford the Terrible begins. Disruption is this feline's middle name, leaving in his wake table settings strewn about the dining area, flattened garden veggies, and multi-colored paint paw prints across the floor. To Tummy, so nicknamed by Georgy and Violet Stoutt, the very worst thing of all, that one thing that he could not do, was say sorry. Instead of uttering that word he hid, yes he did.
Thinking that a change of scenery might modify Tumford's mind and his manners, the Stoutts plan a trip to the village fair. But a promise is made. If this black and white bundle of furry fuss makes a mess he must apologize.
A whiff of smelly fish, a dish of kippers, is his undoing. He leaps spilling them right on the Village Fair Queen. In hiding, of course that's just what he did, Tumford begins to think that perhaps saying that one little word might make all the Stoutts happy, even him.
All ends as it should with readers knowing why one among many are called magic words.
Author/illustrator Nancy Tillman is best known for her New York Times Bestseller, On The Night You Were Born. In Tumford the Terrible light verse in rhyme with humor spread throughout tells the tale. Using mixed media she cleverly captures the antics of our character making use of large areas of white space drawing in the reader's eye. Illustrations that exemplify Tumford's camouflage skills are certain to draw a chuckle or two.
Tillman's closing narrative in this tale sums up her life's message toward all children--You are loved.