Trading Places with Tank Talbott

Trading Places with Tank Talbott

All Jason Pfeiffer wants to do is finish his horror-movie script about his sister, but lately his life is full of horrors! His parents are making him take swimming lessons at the recreation center—and there’s nothing that Jason hates more than taking off his glasses and putting his face in the water. Except maybe having to deal with Tank Talbott.

All Tank Talbott ever wants to do is beat people up. (At least, that’s what Jason thinks.) But Tank’s at the rec center, too—because his parents are making him take ballroom dance classes! There’s nothing that Tank hates more than dancing with girls—except maybe being mistaken for a dork face like Jason. But that’s just what gives Jason a brilliant idea—trading places! The mismatched pair make the switch, and along the way, they learn some surprising things about friendship and courage.

Ages 9 and Up

Trading Places with Tank Talbott
Albert Whitman & Co 2003 Hardcover ISBN: 0807517089; Paperback ISBN: 0807580600


“What seems simple and fun on the surface is actually a life-changing experience for both boys. Jason learns what it’s like to wear Tank’s shoes as his reputation gets him in trouble when he’s not even there, and the boys end up as reluctant friends. A well-written, up-to-date story, laced with humor and a good sense of adolescent growing pains.” School Library Journal

“Butler ingeniously takes the traditional adult injunction to ‘put yourself in his shoes’ and does just that to her main character, employing a sufficiently legitimate conceit for the shift to undermine its didactic edges and even managing a situation that renders the success of the swap fairly realistic. There’s plenty of humor in the situation (particularly when the girls in the dancing class all figure out that Jason’s not Tank and get crushes on him), but it’s effectively paired with Jason’s broadening perspective (‘Two minutes ago he was afraid no one would think he was really Tank. Now he was afraid everyone would think he was’); Tank’s modest transformation is couched in fairly believable terms as well. Readers will find themselves sympathizing with both kids, as well as thoroughly enjoying themselves.” The Bulletin

“A good reminder that people can indeed change–but it may take a long, long time until others recognize it.”
Children’s Literature


  • Center for Children’s Books, Best Books 2003
  • 2005-2006 Sequoyah (Oklahoma) Children’s Book Award nominee
  • 2005-2006 Volunteer State (Tennessee) Book Award Intermediate Master Reading List
  • 2005-2006 Sunshine State Young Readers Award (Florida) nominee
  • WINNER 2007 Black-Eyed Susan Award (Maryland)
  • 2007-2008 Iowa Children’s Choice Award List

Fan Mail

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Download a Discussion Guide for Tank Talbott’s Guide to Girls HERE

Other Information


Trading Places with Tank Talbott in Braille


Is it weird to SIGN a Braille edition of one of my books?