Timmy Tumbles follows a young boy who loves gymnastics through a day of tumbling, in school and out.
Timmy tumbles to school instead of walking, handstands his way into class, and loves his gym class and the chance to tumble on all kinds of equipment, including on benches and through hoops. At the end of the day, he finally gets to go to gymnastics practice, where he learns how to do a backflip. It’s a difficult move, and Timmy almost gives up—but his coach gets him to try again until he’s successful and confident.
The back cover describes Timmy as a boy who struggles to sit still, but this doesn’t come through in the story itself. Rather than showing gymnastics as a method to cope with hyperactivity or an attention deficit disorder, the book depicts Timmy as a boy who just loves gymnastics. He doesn’t get into trouble with teachers or teased by classmates for this mild obsession, and the only moment of conflict occurs when he has trouble doing a backflip while at gymnastics practice. Strangely, while his antics at school are depicted in great detail (his walk to school receives seven, full-page illustrations), this key moment merits only one drawing.
Timmy Tumbles misses several opportunities to capture the value of physical activity, the importance of resilience, and the drawbacks and joy of being truly yourself even (or perhaps especially) when you’re a bit of an odd duck. It’s saved, however, by some illustrations that will make young readers laugh, such as when Timmy is at recess and tumbles so fast he makes himself dizzy; yet these illustrations vanish during the most important moments of the story.
Offering a unique and interesting premise that doesn’t quite deliver, Timmy Tumbles will work best when accompanied by an adult who will engage in the conversations left unsaid by the text.
Also available as an ebook.