Friday, March 22, 2013

Friday Flash Reviews - Phoebe and Digger and Puffin Peter

Once upon a time, this blogger reviewed everything she read. The reviews weren't particularly long, nor were they particularly well-written, but they were a record of her reading. She started blogging when shortly after switching schools, she learned that the hundreds of annotations she put on the first school's website were wiped out with a keystroke by the webmaster who replaced her. 

A little over a year ago, she began a quest to read a book a day. Since she reads much faster than she writes, and still doesn't write all that well, reviews/ posts fell, nay plummeted. Indeed, she has read 98 books so far this year and have reviewed only 20. Pitiful.

Hence, the idea for "Friday Flash Reviews."

First up:

Phoebe & Digger by Tricia Springstubb. Illustrated by Jeff Newman. 32 p. Candlewick Press, March 26, 2013. 9780763652814. (Peeked at a review copy)

"When mama got a new baby, Phoebe got a new digger." Phoebe and her Digger, yellow and vaguely reminiscent of Mike Mulligan's Mary Ann, worked very well together making noise (to drown out the baby noises) and mayhem (digging through the garbage, vrooming after the cat). 

I'm well past needing a "new baby" book and five years past having students young enough to read one to, but I would so buy this one for my home library. Move over Lily, Phoebe's aggressive digging promises to upend nearly everything in the house and garden, so Mama decides the whole family would do well to go to the park. Unfortunately, a little cry baby crosses Phoebe's path, so she scares him, setting off wails of terror, which turns out to be a secret signal that causes all the babies in the park to wail much to Phoebe's delight. 

Her delight comes crashing to a halt when a bigger kid decides that she wants Digger. Poor Phoebe. Poor Digger! Mom to the rescue.

The text is too delicious, with humor for those large and small. The illustrations just about steal the show though. I adored Jeff Newman's nearly wordless book, The Boys and this one might just nudge The Boys from my heart. Sly good humor is conveyed with mere lines. Make room for Phoebe and Digger.

Puffin Peter by Petr Horacek. 40 p. Candlewick Press, March 26, 2013. 9780763665722.

I will admit that I'm a sucker for puffins and pufflings and, well nearly any cover with a bird on it. But puffins are just too adorable. They are the most endearing of birds and I have several children's books about them in my personal library. This cover is just "aw-inducing." How can one resist a bright yellow cover? How can one resist this little guy?

This is a sweet story about friends lost, then found. Oh, and the power of communication as Peter's description of Paul painted a variety of different pictures in the mind of the rescuing whale.

I loved the energy of the illustrations and the expressiveness of the animals. A fine addition to any collection.


  1. Thanks so much for the wonderful words about PHOEBE. I agree--Jeff and Phoebe herself steal the show! Also a great and lovely coincidence that the collaborative theme for summer reading programs this summer is "Dig Into Reading". Yay!
    Tricia Springstubb

    1. Oh! You're very welcome! So cool to have the author find my little reviews! I adored this book and wish I wrote more, but am so far behind in my reviewing that it would've been lost forever if I didn't put up this quick one.

      And, yay for "Dig into Reading" as a theme. I did not know that. I will have to tell my public library colleague to make sure she buys it for her collection. I'm definitely recommending it to my colleague over at the K - 4 school.

      Thanks for stopping by and best of luck with Phoebe & Digger! I really am buying it for myself.