Tumble & Blue by Cassie Beasley is a terrific story about friendship and fate.
According to legend, when a red sickle moon rises over the Okefenokee Swamp, a golden alligator will grant a great fate to one brave person. Two hundred years ago, though, two people reached the center of the swamp at the same time and split the fate. Ever since, half of their descendants have had great fates, and the other half have had terrible fates. And now it’s time for the next red moon.
Twelve-year-old Blue Montgomery has one of the terrible fates. He always loses–at everything from tiddlywinks to foot races. And now his father (a race car driver who always wins) has dumped him at his Granny Eve’s house in Murky Branch, Georgia with all of the other cursed Montgomerys hoping for a new fate.
Eleven-year-old Tumble Wilson wants to be a hero like Maximal Star–or like her older brother Jason. But her attempts at heroing don’t always work out so well, and she often ends up being the damsel in distress. After a lifetime of traveling the country in an RV, her parents have brought her to Murky Branch, Georgia for a fresh start.
Some of the things I like best about this book:
- The friendship between Tumble and Blue. They’re not exactly “friends at first sight” and they don’t always agree, but the two of them are everything a genuine friend should be.
- The extended Montgomery family. From the manipulative Ma Myrtle to the wise Granny Eve to all of the cousins with their crazy gifts and curses, there’s never a dull day in the Montgomery house.
- The Georgia setting. One of my favorite details is the local restaurant that serves “Universally Adored Swamp Cakes” a.k.a. green pancakes.
- What it has to say about talent vs. the rewards of hard work. Everyone thought Granny Eve had a talent for gardening until it became clear that she was cursed to lose her husbands. But, as she says, “Back when I thought it was all a result of magic… well, back then I didn’t enjoy gardening half as much as I do now.”
I read this book aloud to Larrabee. It’s a long, satisfying read, and we both recommend it.