KidLit Challenge - Tumble and Blue by Cassie Beasley

Saturday, January 19, 2019

Title: Tumble and Blue
Author: Cassie Beasley
Age Range: 8-12 years
Publication Year: 2017
Length: 390 pages

Official Summary

Blue Montgomery is cursed to lose. At everything. And to make matters worse, his dad abandons him at his grandmother's house, which is full of madcap relatives with terrible fates - all fighting for the one chance to have their curse lifted.

Tumble Wilson is a hero in training. She lives by her idol Maximal Star's self-help book, How to Hero Every Day. But whenever she tries to save someone, she fails - and fails spectacularly.

When Tumble and Blue meet one fateful summer, they dare to ask a dangerous question: What if you can make your own destiny? They don't know that only a fool would dare to mess around with fate.

Determined to be the heroes of their own stories, they'll journey into the Okefenokee Swamp in search of a legendary creature with the power to change fate itself - a mysterious golden alligator named Munch.

In the heart of the swamp, under the light of a bloodred moon, Tumble and Blue will finally learn if the legends are true..

Munch is about to meet two very brave fools.


Tumble and Blue is my starting point for kidlit in 2019.

The story incorporates a lot of real-life difficulties, such as an absentee father, or the death of an older sibling, etc. I appreciate children's fiction that acknowledges a child's loss or struggles, and Tumble and Blue fits that bill. It's also a delightful, magical, wondrous tale of friendship, zany relatives, and a family curse, so the fantasy element is brilliant.

But I think where the story really shines is in the development of the hero and heroine. Tumble's real name is Lily, implying a soft, delicate flower petal, but that's not the identity she wants at the moment. Hence the name Tumble, chosen by her as an excellent name for a beginning superhero. Blue loses at everything. It can be a footrace or a deadly game of tiddly-winks, but he is destined to lose. And yet, he's a caring, compassionate young boy who gives a lot to the people around him.

Friendship is crucial in storytelling. Get that right, and the rest of the story will follow. Tumble and Blue have a delightful friendship. Both of the children have the same goal, but for different reasons, and so of course, friction must happen. But that's a part of friendship. People make mistakes, get angry, apologize, and forgive. It's a cycle of reality that is captured really, really well in this story.

I didn't care for the ending because it felt unfinished, something I don't really like in book or film, but I get why the author left it that way, so I'll shrug and move on. If readers go in to this book realizing that reality and fantasy meet at the end of the novel then they'll be fine. Children who love fantasy will love this book.

Overall, Tumble and Blue entertained and delighted me despite a couple of "meh" moments. I'm glad I read it, and can definitely recommend it to parents looking for a fun magical realism/fantasy story for a slightly advanced reader in the 8-12 age range.

1 comment

  1. Intriguing! My kids do like fantasy, so we'll keep an eye out at the library for this.


Thank you for your kind comments, which I adore!