Monday, April 7, 2008

Picture Books by Caroline Jayne Church

One of our newest, favorite books at the library is Caroline Jayne Church's Ping Pong Pig. This is a silly and delightful story of a pig who dreams of flying. His attempts to fulfil his dream exasperate and cause problems for all the other farm animals, who finally come up with a solution to keep Ping Pong Pig out of their respective way and away from their work. Ping Pong is delighted...until he realizes how hard everyone else is working and that he is not contributing anything! So he figures out how to help out; and still keep his dreams. We've enjoyed this in several storytimes and it's popped off and on the new shelf regularly. So, I thought I'd take a look at a few other of Caroline Church's picture books.

Of all the flock of geese, one little goose just doesn't fit in. He's so...dirty! But then the other geese realize there might be a good reason for this....Church doesn't stop there, though, with what might have been a rather tired plot. Nope. Smart Goose is definitely a clever goose and although it takes him a while, he finally wins a place in the flock.

While I am quite partial to geese and Ping Pong Pig's delightful roundness makes him a favorite, I think Digby is the funniest. Digby is the new sheepdog. He knows he's good at his job and he's ready to do his best...but the sheep won't cooperate! Everything he tries, getting progressively sillier and more desperate, just makes the sheep (and the reader) laugh harder. Finally, the cows and pigs let him in on a little secret....but it doesn't work on everyone.

Verdict: Church's illustrations have a homey, not too cute but endearing style with delightfully shaped characters and enjoyable colors. Perfect for reading aloud to toddlers and preschoolers, these stories have just enough repetition to hold the younger children's interest with plenty of humor for the older listeners.
Ping Pong Pig
ISBN: 0823421767; Published September 2008 by Holiday House; Borrowed from the library; Purchased for the library

One Smart Goose
ISBN: 978-0439687652; Published April 2005 by Orchard (out of print); Borrowed from the library

Digby Takes Charge
ISBN: 978-1416934417; Published July 2007 by Margaret K. McElderry Books; Borrowed from the library; Purchased for the library

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