Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
City pig Poppleton adjusts to small-town life in this understated and roundly appealing chapter book. In "Neighbors," the polite Poppleton tries to think up a polite way to say "no thanks" to Cherry Sue, a friendly llama who invites him to breakfast, lunch and dinner every single day. When his aggravation expresses itself as rudeness, Cherry Sue admits that she didn't know how to stop issuing invitations without hurting Poppleton's feelings, and the two become best friends. The second vignette, "The Library," details Poppleton's reading ritual, which demands solitude. Finally, "The Pill" introduces Fillmore, a sick goat who refuses to take his pill unless Poppleton hides it in a cake, whereupon the stubborn goat eats all the other slices until he reaches the one with the medicine: " `I can't eat that one,' he said. `It has a pill.' " As in Rylant's other series for beginning readers (Henry and Mudge; Mr. Potter and Tabby), her concise sentences mimic the characters' good manners and wryly point up the failures of etiquette. Teague contributes fetching watercolor-and-pencil images of the pudgy pig, slender llama and dignified goat; the compositions are airier and the palette lighter than in his Pigsty or The Secret Shortcut. The end pages offer a satisfying bird's-eye view of the quaint, cozy neighborhood, with all three characters strolling the sidewalks. Ages 4-7. (Mar.)
Children's Literature - Marilyn Courtot
Poppleton pig has moved to town and he is learning to adjust to his new neighbor, Cherry Sue, and how to help his friend Fillmore who just can't seem to take a pill. The middle story tells about Mondays, the day Poppleton spends at the library reading books. The three stories are designed for early readers who will enjoy the humor and should have a real sense of accomplishment when they finish the book.
School Library Journal
PreS-Gr 2Poppleton, a most interesting pig, lives in a charming house in the country in this three-chapter beginning reader. In the first chapter, instead of submitting indefinitely to an overly friendly neighbor's ministrations, he finally tells her, though not without first making a muddle of it, that he needs time to himself. In the second, he shows how much he values reading, for not even the temptations of a lovely afternoon tea or an exciting parade stand in the way of his Monday library day. The final story reveals Poppleton's sense of humor as he joins a sick friend in bed when it becomes clear that there is a very palatable way to take pills. With his aerial view on the endpapers, Teague ushers readers into the pig's small country town. His large, acrylic cartoons introduce many humorous touches: a chicken on rollerblades; a framed picture of Poppleton's sociable neighbor, waving, of course; a picture of a can on the wall in a goat friend's house. The characters' facial expressions and body language greatly enhance the text. Rylant titles this Book One. Readers will be happy to know there are other Poppleton adventures in the wings.Marianne Saccardi, Norwalk Community-Technical College, CT
The first book in a proposed series of easy readers from the usually reliable Rylant (The Bookshop Dog, p. 1055) is an unqualified flop.
Poppleton, dressed in coat, tie, and bowler, tires of city life and moves to a small town. Three stories follow that require neither a small-town setting nor a recent move. In the first, "Neighbors," the limits of friendship are excessively defined when Cherry Sue invites Poppleton over too often, and he sprays her with the garden hose (instead of simply turning down the invitation) in his frustration over the situation. "The Library" shows how serious Poppleton is about his library dayevery Mondayas he sits at a table, spreads out his belongings, and reads an adventure. In "The Pill," a sick friend who needs medicine asks Poppleton to disguise his pill in one of the many pieces of cake he consumes, recalling the tale in which Arnold Lobel's Frog and Toad try to make some cookies inaccessible, but cannot thwart their own appetites. The stories are unimaginative and poorly plotted, without the taut language and endearing humor of Rylant's Henry and Mudge tales or her Mr. Putter and Tabby books. Teague's scenes of a small town are charming but have no real story in which to take root, and the book is printed on cardboard-weight stock that all but overwhelms the format.