Title: Tac’s Turn
Author: Ruth Yaffe Radin
Illustrator: Gail Owens
Pages: 74
Reading Level: 9-10
Star Rating: ★★

A random free book.

The Story.

Steven is super-excited. He is currently journeying home from his vacation on an island, and Tac, his new friend from the island, is sitting next to him in the back of the car. He will have so much fun showing Tac the sights of Philadelphia, just like Tac showed him around on the island!

But will Tac enjoy his time in Philadelphia, or will he become bored and wish to return home?

Discussion.

I came away from Tac’s Turn with a very strong feeling that it was a sequel. The reason I felt this way, is because it was very obvious that I was supposed to already be attached to the characters and to know certain things about them. Another tip was that Tac’s Turn contained references to “last week” on almost every page. Very suspicious.

Well, I was right. Tac’s Turn is a sequel to Tac’s Island. But I don’t think I’m going to bother rooting out Tac’s Island. Here’s why.

I’ve talked about one dimensional characters before. Have I ever mentioned ½ dimensional characters? Maybe Tac’s Island provided more information about the characters in Tac’s Turn. I hope so. But a sequel should be intelligible outside of the context of its series. All I really know about Steven and Tac is that Steven is anxious to impress Tac and Tac is a semi-haughty unimpressable guy. That’s it. I really didn’t understand why they were even friends in the first place. They didn’t seem to have much in common. They meander around the city on their bikes and snag a few sights, but their relationship seemed tentative. Tac is a stand-offish, non-relational guy, and Steven is worried the whole time about whether Tac is enjoying himself. I wondered that myself. At the end of the story, we have no idea what the status of Tac and Steven’s relationship will be. Tac does not commit to correspond. He does not commit to coming back. He doesn’t seem at all saddened by the prospect of leaving. And to be honest, I, the reader, didn’t really care if they stayed friends or not.

Cautions.

On one occasion, the three boys roam down to Burger King at 12:00 a.m (?!?) without their parents’ permission. When they return, their parents are understandably disturbed, but Tac soothes them by being very polite and telling them several lies. Afterwards, when Steven expresses surprise that they were not spanked, Tac tells him its “Cause I said ma’am and sir. That’s polite talk. You have to know how to talk to parent when you’ve been bad.” [pg. 47]

Later, when Tac urges Steven to go somewhere, Steven agrees but tells Tac, “You can’t tell my mother” because he knows his mother would not want him to go there.

When Tac asks Steven about his fossils, Steven tells Tac that there was an ocean nearby “millions of years ago.” [pg. 10]

When Tac is learning to ice skate, Elena offers him her hand, but he blushes and refuses.

Tac mentions that he wouldn’t want anyone seeing his underwear on a clothesline, then goes on to ask if there are any girls in the neighborhood and if they have clotheslines. The implication is obvious and the two boys laugh together at the thought.

This next one isn’t really a caution, but it tickled me. When Tac and Steven are entering the U. S. Court building, Tac reads a sign forbidding firearms on the premises. He jokingly asks “Did everyone leave the guns in the car?” at which, Steven’s mother turns red and says “don’t say things like that, Tac”.

Things like that? She makes it sound as though he has suggested something truly horrible. Funny, huh?

Conclusion. Mostly okay with a few trying moments.

Review © 2013 Laura Verret

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