Timely Umit Upturns Tim

In 1950s Turkey, along the banks of the Daylan River, Tim, a timid turtle, gets swept by a monsoon up a river where he lands on a striped furry rug. It’s Umit, a tiger who promises to take Tim home. Can Tim trust Umit? Will he arrive at the same fate as the gingerbread boy? This book is filled with the alliterative sounds of “t” and is written in rhyming couplets.

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The cover for the children's story "Timely Umit Upturns Tim"

The front cover of Timely Umit Upturns Tim

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Inspiration for the Story

Inspiration for the story came from a friend of mine who is very timid and cautious. This person struggles with anxiety and fear and as such often is perceived as being aloof, distant and uninterested which leads people to be less wanting to engage in conversation or do things, resulting in this person feeling lonely. It was when this friend mustered up the courage to do something different that their attitude then changed. They were happier, more trusting, more confident and their relationships with others improved. I also wanted to write a story that who be similar to The Gingerbread Boy story in that a vulnerable character who have to trust a stronger character but in contrast to the Gingerbread Boy, the story ends on a positive note, celebrating trust and friendship.

An illustration of Keith

About the Illustrator

Keith has always drawn and painted. As a child, after the war when here were shortages of so many things, he would paint Christmas cards for the family to send to friends and relatives. In the early days most of his work involved pencil drawings and later he did many pen and ink drawings. This was complimented by his work as a draftsman for many years.

In recent years Keith has been drawn into the fascinating and often frustrating world of watercolour painting. He says sometimes it seems like the paints have a mind of their own which can often lead to surprising results, sometimes good and sometimes not so good. Keith draws inspiration mostly from the natural world, landscapes, seascapes, birds and animals in particular but recently he has turned his hand to portraits and figure painting. He sees each new painting as an exciting journey, never sure of where the path will lead but always interesting and rewarding. His immediate ambition is to embark on some large scale works which he sees as particularly challenging for the water colour painter. Maybe he just needs larger brushes. Now, if he can just get the cat to move off his drawing-board…..

He has participated in the Sidney Fine Art Show several times and in 2015 earned Honorable Mention for his work titled “Family Elephant”.

Guide for Reading: PRC

Predictions, Reflections and Connections


Predicting is an essential tool when developing as a strong reader. This story has been written to hook the young audience in engaging in predictable events.

Ask the following questions:

Do you think Tim, the turtle will remain a loner, shy and seemingly unhappy?

What do you think might happen to Tim in the torrential rainstorm?

Where do you think Tim landed after the storm? Was he on a breathing, smelling, striped rug?

Do you predict the tiger will be kind or nasty?

Do you predict Tim will get back home? How?


Reflecting throughout a book makes the story extra personal and come alive. It reflects a reader’s level of comprehension. A more thoughtful and complex reflection and connection reveal a higher understanding of the story. They also help reinforce one’s memory sequence which forms the basis of a retelling with more detail and reference to nuance. A simple and literal retelling reflects a more simplistic understanding.

Use the following questions for points of discussion:

Have you ever found yourself feeling shy, alone or misunderstood?

Have you had anything happen to you to change your attitude and perspective? Can you share this change of attitude experience?

Can you think of two characteristics that Tim needed to have to get back home with Umit’s help?

Has this ever happened to you that you need to have courage and trust to change or improve your circumstances?

Describe a time when you ever first me someone and were afraid of them but then after getting to know them and trust them you became friends?

Have you ever been afraid of doing something but then after you did it you were proud of yourself? Did it change how you perceived things?

What is your favourite part of the story and why?


Making connections facilitates a deeper understanding of a story through making inferences, noting details and relating them to prior information. It is seeing, linking, and articulating other topics and events to the story. The reader is applying this reading experience to other learned information. Often when making connections the reader will arrive at exciting new insights that extend beyond the literal story.

Use the following questions for points of discussion:

Does this story remind you of another fairy tale?

If it reminds you of the Gingerbread Boy, how is it the same or different?

Umit tells of Caspian tigers being threatened by being hunted by humans. Can you think of other animals at risk of extinction?

When Tim yells, “Onward home, my transporter, let us ride with the wind!’ followed by the description of Tim’s eyes bright as he grinned, what is is telling you about Tim’s attitude? How is it changing and what characteristic is he showing?

Why were the other animals in shock when Tim returned home?

Several pages have bold words or phrases. Choose one, two or all of them. What do they mean to you personally or as it relates to the story? Adults remember to be willing to share your answers in a casual way with the child or instead of the child answering. Make it a personal sharing not a grilling. How do these emphasize a part of the story?

How did the other animals attitudes change and why?