Roly Poly Pangolin

Roly Poly Pangolin by Anna Dewdney

This new book by Dewdney has the same cadence as her Llama Llama books.  Roly Poly is a very small, young pangolin who doesn’t like new things.  Even friendly faces scare him and have him running away.  When he hears frightening noises, he runs, falls and then rolls tightly into a ball.  It takes a lot of courage for him to eventually uncurl and see exactly what frightened him so badly.  But when he does, he finds that it just might be easier to make friends than keep on fleeing in fear.

This is a simple book perfect for a toddler audience.  Dewdney uses rhyme and rhythm as well as repeated phrases throughout the book.  Filled with just enough action and strange noises, this book will appeal to children who may be fearful of new things themselves.  Dewdney’s illustrations are equally welcoming.  There is plenty of humor here in both the text and the illustrations too.  The book ends with a paragraph of information on the pangolin.

Get this into the hands of Llama Llama fans and also to those children who enjoy new, strange animals.  Appropriate for ages 2-4.

Reviewed from copy received from Penguin.

Big Red Lollipop

Big Red Lollipop by Rukhsana Khan, illustrated by Sophie Blackall

Rubina has been invited to her very first birthday party and is elated.  Until she tells her mother about it and her mother insists that she takes her little sister, Sana, or else she can’t go.  Rubina tries to explain that here the kids don’t bring their little siblings to a birthday party, but her mother won’t budge.  Sana is the only little sister at the party, but it isn’t so bad.  Each girl gets a bag of party favors to take home and there is a big red lollipop for each of them.  Sana eats hers right away, and Rubina saves hers in the refrigerator until the next morning.  But when she wakes up eager for a taste, she discovers that Sana has helped herself to it!

A story based on Khan’s own childhood, this book perfectly captures the differences between families of various cultures and backgrounds.  Rubina is simply expected to take her younger sister with her.  And then she is expected to forgive her sister and share her lollipop.  The wonderful piece of the book is when Rubina stands up for her younger sister at the end and helps convince her mother that Sana doesn’t have to bring their even younger sister to her first birthday party.

Illustrated with great style, the Arab-American culture is depicted here with real warmth.  The illustrations have a creamy background color against which the characters and their expressive faces really pop.  The relationships between the characters are strong and interesting.  The final result of Rubina’s kindness rings true and is very satisfying.

This is a beauty of a book with multicultural elements and a strong story and style.  Appropriate for ages 5-7.

Reviewed from copy received from Viking.