Monday 19 June 2023

Pippa and the Troublesome Twins

Pippa and the Troublesome Twins by Dimity Powell & Andrew Plant (Ford Street Publishing) PB HB RRP $26.95 9781922696298

Reviewed by Karen Hendriks

Dimity Powell is an award-winning children’s author who writes and reviews books exclusively for children. This is her second book about Pippa, the adventure seeking pigeon.

Pippa loves her new twin brothers, Pepi and Penn but their constant cries and need for attention is more than she can bare. She longs to fly away from her babysitting duties and seek adventure. How can she be a big sister and still have fun?

Dimity Powell has created a child-relatable story that is not only well told but filled with delightful language. Pippa loved her treetop home with its swaying branches and dancing leaves. The page turns ensure the reader wants to know what’s next and the story is well paced. Pippa is a well-formed character, and her voice is distinct.  Powell allows her carefully chosen words to show character and add flavours to the text. They looked like chunky little sacks of wheat, but all they did was squeak and eat! Her experience as a writer really shows with a tight word count and a story arc that builds, leads the reader and surprises. The simplicity of the story shows how well-crafted it is as a picture book. Strong verbs are paired with onomatopoeia and dialogue that’s used in all the right places.

Andrew Plant is an experienced illustrator with more than a hundred books under his belt. He is the second part of this successful picture book team. His use of vibrant colour is eye catching and joyful. The bright green cover with Pippa centre and her twin brothers squawking behind lets the reader instantly know what this book is about. He has cleverly crafted movement and personality to the three birds. Their faces, particularly their eyes visually speak to the reader with much emotion. My favourite double page spread is when Pippa is babysitting the twins. There are only eleven words used and this has allowed Plant’s illustrations to show how pesky and annoying the twins are. Plant uses a mix of single-and double-page spreads and changes perspectives by zooming in and out from their tree. The scary page with a close-up of the prowler’s face expertly showcases a pivotal moment in the story.

Pippa and the Troublesome Twins is a picture book for children 3-8 years that showcases being true to yourself, being adventurous, and family. The book sings as a read-aloud and is appealing to children. It relates to a small child’s world and reflects what happens in families when new siblings arrive. I love that the role of becoming a big sister is showcased. This is a book that will appeal to children, parents, and schools.  Teacher notes accompany this lovely book.

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