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9 November 2023 PENNY AND PIP by Candace Fleming and Eric Rohmann, ill., S&S/Atheneum/Caitlyn Dlouhy Books, June 2023, 40p., ISBN: 978-1-6659-1331-7


“I met you in a cave, you were painting buffalo

I said I'd be your slave, follow wherever you go

That night we split a rattlesnake and danced beneath the stars

You fell asleep, I stayed awake and watched the passing cars

And walked a dinosaur, I walked a dinosaur

Open the door, get on the floor

Everybody walk the dinosaur”

– Was Not Was (1988)


“Penny ate a triangle of her hummus sandwich.

She ate two spoonfuls of blueberry yogurt.

She ate one carrot, one grape, and none of her cheese crackers.

‘You’re a good eater,’ Penny whispered to the baby.

‘URRRP!’ went the baby.

‘You’re a good burper, too,’ added Penny.

‘Pip, pip,’ squeaked the baby.

Penny smiled. ‘Is that your name? Are you Pip? I’m Penny.’

‘Pip, pip,’ went the baby.

‘Nice to meet you too,’ said Penny.”


When Penny visits the natural history museum on a class field trip, she’s in the right place at the right time. Unbeknownst to teachers and fellow classmates, she watches in total amazement as a dinosaur egg in an exhibit shutters, cracks open, and sends forth a cute-as-can-be baby brontosaurus. After the pair make eye contact and bond, the baby scales the exhibit enclosure and follows the young girl through the museum. When it’s lunchtime, the baby shares her lunch. 


I especially love the post-lunch illustration in which the adoring/adorable baby, cheese cracker crumbs spilling from its mouth, sets its front legs upon Penny’s knee, just the way you envision a grateful, loving dog or a cat being attentive to its person. 


But what will happen when it’s time to leave? Uh-oh. Pip is too big for Penny’s pocket and backpack. But clever Penny devises a truly wonderful plan leading to her dream come true. The open-ended happy-ever-after conclusion will leave audiences wondering about what is real, and daydreaming about the possibilities.


Eric Rohmann’s digitally-colored, black colored pencil illustrations bring the two new friends to life in a manner that dispels any doubts about how real Pip is. At least to Penny’s eyes. 


PENNY & PIP is magical and hopeful and endearing. A total joy of a read. When you share this at circle time with the threes- and fours-, you best warn parents that they might need to prepare a trip to the nearest natural history museum.


Richie Partington, MLIS

Richie's Picks http://richiespicks.pbworks.com





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