Peanut and Fifi Have a Ball


For every kid who has ever had trouble sharing a special toy.
Peanut has a new ball and her big sister, Fifi, wants to play with it. Peanut doesn't want to share, so Fifi tries to entice her with the many different imaginary games they could play with the ball—they could tell fortunes, or have a bakery, or let a seal balance the ball on its nose! Peanut is NOT convinced, until Fifi comes up with a spectacular imaginary adventure that ...

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For every kid who has ever had trouble sharing a special toy.
Peanut has a new ball and her big sister, Fifi, wants to play with it. Peanut doesn't want to share, so Fifi tries to entice her with the many different imaginary games they could play with the ball—they could tell fortunes, or have a bakery, or let a seal balance the ball on its nose! Peanut is NOT convinced, until Fifi comes up with a spectacular imaginary adventure that Peanut can't refuse: a trip to space! But is it too late for her to join the game? 
Illustrated in bold graphics and bright colors by an illustrator Maurice Sendak calls "an artist with a superb eye for line and composition," here's a story where the older sibling doesn't always have the upper hand.

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Editorial Reviews

The New York Times - Pamela Paul
Poor Peanut learns a cruel lesson, not an untrue one, but it stings nonetheless. Schmid's pop-arty, anime cartoons make it go down a bit easier.
Publishers Weekly
With clever dialogue and stylish retro spreads, de Sève (The Duchess of Whimsy) and Schmid (Perfectly Percy) give a shot of energy to the familiar theme of siblings fighting over a toy. Fifi has a nearly inexhaustible stream of ideas to get her younger sister Peanut’s new ball away from her, “but Peanut didn’t want to share. Her ball was new. And it was special.” Fifi tries dressing up in a starry cape and pretending to be a fortune-teller: “Where is my crystal ball?” she asks. “Not here,” says Peanut, unimpressed. “Check the closet.” When the ever-resourceful Fifi runs off with a live seal named Bob and a blue spaceship, Peanut is left alone with her treasure. “The end,” the narrator declares, as Peanut stares disconsolately; “(or not…)” the next page continues—and Peanut joins the fun. Schmid’s bold, black outlines and graphic forms play Peanut’s dumpling roundness off Fifi’s angles and corners. Matte paper and three sun-faded colors heighten the vintage look, and the translucent suggestions of Fifi’s imaginary ideas provide additional interest. Siblings may end up squabbling over this book. Ages 3–5. Agent: Steven Malk, Writers House. (Apr.)
Children's Literature - Barbara L. Talcroft
Little sister Peanut has a brand-new blue ball; older sister Fifi wants to play with it. In the simplest of words, de Seve leads the youngest readers through the sisters' conflict over the ball, in which Peanut is possessive while Fifi tries to entice her to share. Both words and pictures grow more complex as Fifi uses her fertile imagination to coax Peanut into pretending the ball's a basketball, a crystal ball, bread dough, or a seal's ball. Finally, Fifi invents a scenario for travel, shown on a double-page spread with the seal, fish, suitcases, books, and toothbrushes. Peanut becomes intrigued, just as Fifi moves on to something else. Is playtime over? Kids will be surprised by Fifi's last, delightful idea: The ball becomes planet earth, and the sisters take off into space together. Unlike Schmid's thin-lined, delicate illustrations for Hugs from Pearl, bold black lines here form circles, ovals, and triangles; colors include the bright blue of the ball plus teal, terra cotta, aqua, and lavender—and lots of white space. Schmid's dexterity lets viewers understand a range of emotions with the barest change of a line or the slant of a body. In an interview, the artist says he has been most inspired by the illustrations of N.C. Wyeth, though he was awarded a month with Maurice Sendak to work on this book. Neither influence is apparent here. Schmid's contribution remains strictly his own, as does de Seve's sweet story, based on observed interactions between her two daughters. Reviewer: Barbara L. Talcroft
School Library Journal
PreS-K—Peanut is delighted with her new, bright-blue ball. Her older sister wants to play with it too, but Peanut refuses to share her special toy. Undaunted, imaginative Fifi tries a variety of strategies to get it from her sister. She proposes some enticing pretend games. "Where is my crystal ball?" she asks and then suggests, "It's bread dough and we're bakers." Finally, Fifi returns with a seal that can do tricks with the ball. Peanut agrees to share it, but Fifi is off on another fantastic adventure, imagining that she and the seal are flying through space. After a moment, Peanut picks up her ball and chases after her sister, calling out, "Hey Fifi, check out this cool planet." The digital artwork reinforces the playful tone of the story. The thick black outlines and geometric shapes featured in the simple but eye-catching illustrations have a childlike charm and capture the unique personality of each little girl. This story offers a gentle lesson about sharing, sibling dynamics, and the power of imagination. Pair it with But Excuse Me That Is My Book (Dial, 2005) or another title in Lauren Child's "Charlie and Lola" series.—Linda L. Walkins, Saint Joseph Preparatory High School, Boston, MA
Kirkus Reviews
Playful shapes and deft use of white space illustrate a fresh and funny tale about sharing. Peanut sits on the floor, gazing lovingly at her new ball. Enter Fifi, who wants that ball. She tries grabbing; she tries politeness. "But Peanut didn't want to share." Fifi proposes several imagination games for which the ball is, naturally, required. From "Basketball?" to "Dough! It's bread dough and we're bakers and we've got to knead it and push it and pound it," Fifi cajoles and Peanut refuses. "Not dough," Peanut replies. "Just a ball." The cream-colored backgrounds are clean and spacious, placing sharp focus on the girls. Schmid codes Peanut and Fifi by shape: Everything Peanut is rounded (body, head, ponytails, the ball), while everything Fifi is angular (face, ponytails, triangular dress with lightning bolt). Even a hilarious paper-airplane message--"Dear Ball, Wanna Play?"--is sharply triangular, and the reply--the airplane crumpled up, with "No" written on it--is roundish. Pale blues and oranges sit inside bold black outlines. Bits of rhyme nestle into the text: "It was brand-new. It was bright blue." Fifi's final power play briefly orchestrates a painful turnabout, but a page claiming "The end" is only teasing, and the real end sees Peanut and Fifi contentedly off into outer space--together. Humorous, realistic and cheerfully free of didacticism. (Picture book. 3-5)
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780803735781
  • Publisher: Penguin Young Readers Group
  • Publication date: 4/18/2013
  • Pages: 40
  • Sales rank: 1,385,446
  • Age range: 3 - 5 Years
  • Product dimensions: 10.30 (w) x 7.10 (h) x 0.50 (d)

Meet the Author

A former school teacher, Randall de Séve is the author of the New York Times bestselling Toy Boat and the popular The Duchess of Whimsy, on which she collaborated with her husband. Ms. de Séve was inspired to write Peanut and Fifi Have a Ball after witnessing a similar exchange between her daughters. She lives in Brooklyn, New York with her family. 

Paul Schmid has written and illustrated a number of books for children, three of which have been honored by the Society of Illustrators. He won the Maurice Sendak Fellowship to spend a month with Mr. Sendak working on Peanut and Fifi Have a Ball. Mr. Sendak called Paul, "an artist with a superb eye for line and composition." He lives with his wife and daughter in Seattle, Washington.

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