When you put a puppy in a room full of children regardless of their ages, it's an instant lovefest. Most of the children, if not all of them, want to touch the furry bundle of energy. And the puppy wants to give every single one of them a big, sloppy hello kiss.
As the puppy bounds around the room from person to person, an observer will see their nose in constant motion, taking in all the various smells. It's the ultimate way in which they solve their curiosity. Pippa & Percival Pancake & Poppy: Four Peppy Puppies (Sleeping Bear Press, March 15, 2018) written by Deborah Diesen with illustrations by Grace Zong is the joyful journey of playful puppies.
A puppy named Poppy
Went out for a run,
Looking for fun.
Stopping at a fence she heard
a big sound.
Nothing was going to stop this pooch, so she dug a hole to investigate. She found another puppy. Pancake and Poppy scampered and explored until they came to a large stump. Guess what they heard?
When they climbed on top, they spied another furry fellow on the other side. Percival, Pancake and Poppy romped down the road until they came to a big pile of leaves. They listened. They had to find out what was causing the commotion. It was a cute canine youngster.
Puppies numbering four, Pippa, Percival, Pancake and Poppy, wandered and searched until they came to unfamiliar territory. It was dark and dingy in the alley. It was a dead end.
A horrible sight met their eyes. Puppies numbering four ran and ran and ran. They used their superior sniffers to find what all puppies want at the end of an exciting escapade.
Toe-tapping, finger-snapping and knee-slapping will begin as soon as the first four words written by Deborah Diesen are read. Her superb command of word selection creates a rhyming rhythm as spirited and comical as the puppies. The repetition of key phrases and pauses invite audience participation. Here are two passages.
Pancake and Poppy
Gleeful and playful,
Their puppy legs strong.
They came to a stump.
They heard a big sound.
They clambered up over,
And that's when they found . . .
No one will be able to look at the four puppies happily running down the road without smiling. Their exhibited joy is contagious. The road extends over the spine on the matching dust jacket and book case revealing a grove of trees turning colors for autumn and lining a fence. In the foreground two late blooming coneflowers add to the fall splendor.
Vibrant colors are displayed at every page turn. Not a single bit of space is wasted. One bright green endpaper is opposite the title page featuring the puppies still running down the road in single file. Butterflies are following them. Percival has a flower in his mouth now. At the close of the book the endpapers feature a full two page image with the publication information on the left.
All of the illustrations span two pages or are placed on a single page opposite a white page with two words of text. Grace Zong shifts her perspective to enhance the text. It's the looks on the dog's faces and their body postures which will endear readers to the four pups. They are very expressive and simply adorable.
One of my many favorite pictures is when the fourth pup, Pippa is discovered. Four tree trunks are lined up in the background. A colorful pile of leaves nearly spans the single page. The three other dogs with heads raised are looking at Pippa who popped out of the pile of leaves. All their mouths are open in greeting. Pippa looks overjoyed.
If you are looking for a title guaranteed to delight the story time crowd (and anyone else young at heart) or a fantastic book to close the day at bedtime, Pippa & Percival Pancake & Poppy: Four Peppy Puppies written by Deborah Diesen and illustrated by Grace Zong is an excellent choice. As reader's theater or for creative drama, it would be fun with a capital F. I haven't stopped smiling since I opened the cover and neither will your readers. You'll want a copy for your professional and personal book shelves.
To learn more about Deborah Diesen and her other work, please visit her website by following the link attached to her name. Here is a link to Deborah Diesen's blog, Jumping The Candlestick. Deborah is interviewed at HENRYHERZ.COM. Grace Zong is showcased at Studio Goodwin Sturges. At the publisher's website you can read an excerpt.