Pop-up and Toy Books
Anon. Peppa Pig and the Year of Family Fun. Candlewick, 2016. [10p.]. $17.99. ISBN 978-0-7636-8739-7.
The Pig family demonstrates common activities of the four seasons, including gardening, swimming, kite-flying, and sledding. The first four spreads include flaps and sliding elements, while the fifth and final spread contains a more elaborate pop-up of the entire family enjoying a mud wallow. The full color deeply saturated cartoon illustrations add much of the humor and characterization, while the flaps and moving elements add some interest but are not vital to the storytelling. This works for a storytime but is likely to fall apart quickly if circulated by the library. Not a top choice; stick with Eric Hill’s “Spot” series.
Ahlberg, Jessica. Fairy Tales for Mr. Barker: A Peek-Through Story. Candlewick, 2015/2016. [28p.]. $15.99. ISBN 978-0-7636-8124-1.
A little girl Lucy follows her dog, Mr. Barker, out the window and encounters Goldilocks, the Three Pigs, Jack (of beanstalk fame), and Sleeping Beauty. Lucy helps them evade the wolf and other “bad guys,” and they end up at Lucy’s house where she reads them a story. Both Lucy and Sleeping Beauty have dark hair and skin, compared to the other characters, adding some diversity in a subtle way.
Except for very small die-cuts in some of the sturdy pages, this is a typical picture book, and the die-cuts will hold up to library circulation. The plot is reminiscent of Each Peach Pear Plum, (Viking, 1979) the classic guessing game story by Janet and Allan Ahlberg, the parents of this book’s author/illustrator. In fact, the style of artwork is very close to that of her father, with small, detailed drawings with watercolors, depicting various nursery rhyme and folklore characters.
The die-cuts allow the reader to “look” out the windows or other openings to see what is coming up next. But they don’t add much (there is no guessing game aspect), but they don’t detract, either. Fundamentally, this is a nice picture book celebrating common folktale characters in a fun way. At one paragraph per page it is too long for storytime and the illustrations contain small details. But this is a fine choice for one-on-one sharing.
Penny Peck, San Jose State University iSchool