The Pepins and Their Problems

( 13 )

Overview

Whether it's waking up to find toads in their shoes, becoming trapped on the roof, or searching for cheese when their cow makes only lemonade, the Pepin family always seem to get into the most bizarre scrapes. Lucky for them, they have an author with large psychic antennae and great problem-solving readers who can join the Pepins on their hilarious adventures. And they need all the help they can get!

The reader is invited to help ...

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Overview

Whether it's waking up to find toads in their shoes, becoming trapped on the roof, or searching for cheese when their cow makes only lemonade, the Pepin family always seem to get into the most bizarre scrapes. Lucky for them, they have an author with large psychic antennae and great problem-solving readers who can join the Pepins on their hilarious adventures. And they need all the help they can get!

The reader is invited to help solve the Pepin family's unusual problems, which include having a cow who creates lemonade rather than milk and having to cope with a competitive neighbor.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher

“Following her National Book Award-winning dark comedy The Canning Season, Horvath reprises the unalloyed giddiness of Everything on a Waffle—and ups the ante with some outrageous, Pirandello-like flourishes . . . the sly running jokes about place names and brazenly funny developments keep the conceit and the comedy energetic all the way to the finish line.”—Publishers Weekly, Starred Review

“Distinctive and decidedly hilarious . . . Young readers won’t be able to turn the pages fast enough to discover the Pepins’ newest predicament. . . . A delight.”—Kirkus Reviews, Starred Review

“Horvath spins deliciously silly stories about a family rivaling Hale’s Peterkins for foolishness and Cresswell’s Bagthorpes for effervescent wit. Each preposterous event holds fresh surprise. . . . Hafner’s line drawings visualize the shenanigans with comic amiability. Here’s one reader beaming thoughts to both author and illustrator: Thanks for the laughs! More, please!”—The Horn Book Magazine, Starred Review

“The sly humor is just right for upper-elementary-school kids, and this book should be a fun read-aloud for younger listeners.”—School Library Journal

“Horvath spins a delightful yarn . . . the wordplay is a great argument for reading this aloud; adults will enjoy the story almost as much as children.”—Booklist

Publishers Weekly
Following her National Book Award-winning dark comedy The Canning Season, Horvath reprises the unalloyed giddiness of Everything on a Waffle-and ups the ante with some outrageous, Pirandello-like flourishes. Seemingly dire problems forever loom over the Pepin family: toads lurk in their shoes, or their hot chocolate has grown too cold to drink. Their addled responses (nobody would ever think of simply reheating the chocolate) group them with the beloved fools of Harry Allard and James Marshall's Stupids books and of Chelm tales. The difference is that Horvath impishly colludes with the audience. She inserts "the author" as a character, too, a great psychic who can receive suggestions from readers: "If you put one finger on each temple and concentrate, she will be able to hear your solution and share it with the Pepins and other readers." The narrative folds in ideas from "readers" (these are invariably as ridiculous as the Pepins' own). "Wait! Yes, my antennae quiver," writes Horvath during the hot-chocolate conundrum. "One dear reader from Brookline, Massachusetts, thinks that all the Pepins need to do is find a very successful writer and have him or her blow some hot air on the cold chocolate" (the Pepins dismiss the notion, because of "all those germs"). If the end seems a bit abrupt, no matter: the sly running jokes about place names and brazenly funny developments keep the conceit and the comedy energetic all the way to the finish line. Ages 8-12. (Aug.) Copyright 2004 Reed Business Information.
Children's Literature
Like the Peterkins in Lucretia Hale's classic The Peterkin Papers, the Pepins have a decidedly unusual set of problems. For example, what do you do if your shoes are constantly filled with toads? Or if you climb up on roof to watch the sunset and your ladder falls away? Or if you've planned a cheese party for your favorite neighbor but your cow for some reason starts producing lemonade instead of milk? Like the Peterkins, the Pepins never have the faintest idea what to do about any of their eccentric troubles, but here, in a postmodern twist, the role of "the lady from Philadelphia" who always does know what to do is played by Horvath's readers, who are invited to beam suggestions to her, which she then receives through her "unusually large psychic antennae" and reports on the subsequent pages. The solutions range from the preposterous (get toadstools for the toads to sit in so they won't have to sit in your shoes) to the blatantly obvious (ask your neighbors, who are climbing up and down the repositioned ladder to bring you supplies so that you can bungee-jump off the roof, to leave the ladder there so you can climb down it instead). Along the way there is plenty of outlandish humor and lots of arch, self-conscious commentary from the author. Even readers who prefer a more conventional story that builds to a more traditional resolution are unlikely to be able to resist contributing their own far-fetched suggestions to help the hapless but good-natured Pepins out of their escalating series of comic predicaments. 2004, Farrar Straus Giroux, Ages 8 to 12.
—Claudia Mills
School Library Journal
Gr 4-7-The Pepin family's troubles range from a cow that gives lemonade to disappearing kitchen utensils to their very fine neighbor falling in love with a barber pole. Like Harry Allard's Stupids, the characters' nonsensical antics offer plenty of humor. The individual Pepins, including a cat and dog, have fairly distinct personalities that come through in the dialogue. It's Horvath's arch narration, though, that adds spice and unpredictability. At each chapter's end she calls upon readers to "think" their solutions directly to her own "unusually large psychic antennae," then shares the suggestions she receives in the next chapter. Most of the "readers" hail from towns with especially unusual names such as Nanafalia and Zigzag, eventually representing all 50 states. And from their ideas, they seem to be about as confused as the Pepins themselves. Horvath's mock serious commentary sets just the right tone and makes the novel more than just a series of silly episodes. The author also responds with good humor to the suggestions she receives ("Your author declines even to comment on this"). The sly humor is just right for upper-elementary-school kids, and this book should be a fun read-aloud for younger listeners.-Steven Engelfried, Beaverton City Library, OR Copyright 2004 Reed Business Information.
Kirkus Reviews
Horvath puts a distinctive and decidedly hilarious spin on the "problem novel" with this chronicle of a family's unusual (to say the least) mishaps. She also carries the metafictional conceits of Allen Ahlberg's Better Brown Stories (1995) and such a step further-for not only does she converse with her characters, she invites readers to chime in psychically from wherever they may be, duly recording any suggestions she "receives," along with their towns of origin. Poor Pepins: if it's not a rash of toads in their shoes, or a cow who's suddenly giving lemonade when it's cheese that's in short supply, it's Mrs. Pepin's latest crying jag, or the mysterious disappearance of all the tableware. Young readers won't be able to turn the pages fast enough to discover the Pepins' newest predicament, to find out its seldom-obvious cause, to check out the reader comments winging in from the likes of Boring, MD, Forks of Cacapon, WV, and other real places-but mostly to meet the Pepins, part Bagthorpes, part fugitives from Chelm, and their fittingly quirky neighbors, all of whom are rendered in Hafner's sunny, simply drawn cartoons. A delight. (Fiction. 10-12)
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780312377519
  • Publisher: Square Fish
  • Publication date: 1/22/2008
  • Edition description: STRIPPABLE
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 208
  • Sales rank: 237,563
  • Age range: 8 - 12 Years
  • Lexile: 920L (what's this?)
  • Product dimensions: 5.17 (w) x 7.75 (h) x 0.55 (d)

Meet the Author

Polly Horvath is the author of many books for young people, including Everything on a Waffle, The Canning Season and The Trolls. Her numerous awards include the Newbery Honor, the National Book Award for Young People's Literature, the Boston Globe-Horn Book Honor, the Vicky Metcalf Award for Children's Literature, the Mr. Christie Award, the international White Raven, and the Young Adult Canadian Book of the Year. Horvath grew up in Kalamazoo, Michigan. She attended the Canadian College of Dance in Toronto and the Martha Graham School of Contemporary Dance in New York City. She has taught ballet, waitressed, done temporary typing, and tended babies, but while doing these things she has always also written. Now that her children are in school, she spends the whole day writing, unless she sneaks out to buy groceries, lured away from her desk by the thought of fresh Cheez Whiz. She lives on Vancouver Island with her husband and two daughters.
 
Marylin Hafner has illustrated numerous children's books. She lives in Cambridge, Massachusetts.

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Table of Contents

Toads in Their Shoes 3
Grilled Lemonade Sandwiches, Anyone? 12
The Dapper Man at the Door 25
Junebug Arrives 38
The Mysterious Envelope 55
The Other Very Fine Neighbor 64
The Mouse Squisher 77
The Very Fine Neighbor-Off 91
Mrs. Pepin Wishes to Be ... (well, that would give it away) 107
A Little Night Flying 120
Mr. Bradshaw Steps Out 130
The Pepins' Plan 143
The Pepins Behave Like Relics of a Lesser Civilization 159
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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 3.5
( 13 )
Rating Distribution

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Sort by: Showing all of 13 Customer Reviews
  • Posted April 5, 2013

    Cool Book

    I bought this book to work with narratives summaries with my student. It is easy to read and you can not stop reading. I recommend it to anyone child or adult. You are going to enjoy the silly and funny stories.

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  • Posted April 6, 2012

    Kids humor!

    The Pepins are an odd family that do some crazy things. Adults might get a little annoyed with this book at times, but my daughter really enjoyed finding out what they would do next.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 22, 2007

    Peppins and thier Problems Review

    Caldecott Book Title: The Pepins and their Problems Reading Level: Sixth Grade Genre: Fantasy About the Author: Polly Horvath is the author of seven previous books for children, including one for older readers, The Canning Season, which won the National Book Award. She lives in Metchosin, British Columbia. Book Review: The Pepins and their Problems is about a family that always seems to get into the most bizarre situations. Their problems ranged from finding toads in their shoes to becoming trapped on a roof. ¿I am not putting my foot in a toad-filled shoe,¿ said Petunia, who was in the fifth grade, where she wasn¿t in charge of anything. Lucky for them though, they have great problem-solving readers. One reader wrote, when the Peppins were stuck on their roof, ¿A reader from Grow, Texas, thinks the Pepins should build an identical house next to their own but with a fire escape.¿ ¿Good golly,¿ said Mr. Pepin, dipping in a finger and tasting it. ¿It¿s lemonade!¿, he exclaimed when their cow, Nelly had no milk, but had produced lemonade instead. The hilarious adventures go on and on for the Pepins. Good thing they have the help of their very smart readers, as they need all the help they can get. This story is very fun and entertaining. I not only recommend it for children, but for teachers to read to their students for entertainment, as this was a very enjoyable book. Bibliographic Information: Horvath, Polly. The Pepins and their Problems. New York: Farrar Straus Giroux, 2004.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 17, 2007

    The Pepins and Their Problems

    ¿The Pepins and Their Problems¿ by Polly Horvarth was published in 2004. Horvarth grew up in Kalamazoo, Michigan and has been writing books since she was eight years old. She attended school in Toronto as well. She has won both the Newbery Honor and National Book Award. Horvarth now lives with her husband and two daughters in southern Vancouver Island, British Columbia. ¿The Pepins and Their Problems¿ is about the Pepins family who are always having problems that they can not solve. One morning when the Pepins wake up, they find a bunch of toads in their shoes. They had the slightest clue on what to do, so Irving, who is the genius of the family, suggests ¿Maybe we should go next door and ask Mr. Bradshaw if he has toads in his shoes.¿ Mr. Bradshaw was the Pepins very fine neighbor and when they went over to his house he had the same problem. There were toads in all of his shoes too. How will the Pepins and Mr. Bradshaw find a solution to their problem? Well, this is where you come in, yes you, the reader! The author asks the reader for help to solve the problems the Pepins encounter throughout the book. What other problems do you think the Pepins face? What will be the correct solutions to the Pepins problems? Well, you will have to read this crazy book to find out. This is not your average family and there is no family quite like the Pepins. This books genre is Fantasy. I have to say, this book is the most unique children¿s book I think I have ever came across. It was somewhat hard to follow along with this book because it skipped back and forth from what was happening to the author talking to the reader. Both the text and few illustrations in this book are fun and cute. To me, this book is suited for an older audience because some of the vocabulary can be quite challenging for young readers. I think children will enjoy this book because they become part of it, which I think is wonderful. The age range for this book is 8 to 12, grades 3-5. Horvath, Polly. The Pepins and Their Problems. New York: Farrar Straus Giroux, 2004.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 15, 2007

    What problems?

    The Pepins and their problems by Polly Horvath was a confusing book. Children on the other hand, would most likely enjoy reading it. You have your talking cow, crazy neighbor, and one very weird family. The problems they face are unrealistic, yet the author makes the book educational by including city and states names that most children have not heard about.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted November 21, 2006

    Fantasy Review The Pepins and Their Problems

    Do you think that your family is crazy? If so, then this is the book for you. This is a great little fantasy book that is a fun treat for children ranging in age from 8 to 12. The book is about a family, named the Pepins who throughout the book have several problems. One, for instance, is when the entire family gets stuck on the roof of their house. It really pulls the kids in as the authors asks the kids to send in what they think a solution to the problems the Pepins face could be. She makes the kids feel like she is talking directly to them by say things like, ¿Forgive me if I did not hear you solution.¿ I think kids will like this because it makes them feel special, like the book was wrote just for them. The books author, Polly Horvath, has been writing since she was only eight years old. She grew up in Kalamazoo, Michigan. In the summers she would go to Canada to a ballet school. She attended college at the Canadian College of Dance in Toronto. She is now married with two daughters and they live in Victoria, British Columbia, Canada. Horvath, Polly. The Pepins and Their Problems. New York: Farrar Straus Giroux, 2004.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted November 28, 2006

    The pepins and their problems

    The Pepins and their Problems is a humorous book. The Pepins family has some very unusual problems. They have toads in their shoes and they get stuck on their own roof. ¿I am not putting my foot in a toad-filled shoe,¿ said Petunia. This is not your average family. What will happen next to the Pepins and their pets? This is a fantasy book. This book would be good for grades 3-6 grade. I enjoyed this book. I had to read some of the parts out loud to the person that just happened to be the closest to me while I was reading it. Polly Horvath has been writing books since she was eight. Horvath grew up in Kalamazoo, Michigan. She now lives on the southern Vancouver Island. She is married and has two daughters. Horvath, Polly. The Pepins and their Problems. New York: Farrar Straus Giroux, 2004.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted November 27, 2006

    More for a child's mind

    This book is funny and cute but it lost me when the author would go from the book to real life.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted November 27, 2006

    College Review for Class

    Ever have so many problems, you didn¿t know where they came from and how to handle them? If so, then this time fantasy fiction book, ¿The Pepins and their problems¿ by Polly Harvath is the book for you. The Pepins awoke to find toads in their shoes. Not knowing what to do, about the toads, Irvine, who is a sixth grade genius and in charge of leading all charges says, ¿Maybe we should go next door and ask Mr. Bradshaw if he has toads in his shoes.¿ Sure enough, there were toads in every single pair of Mr. Bradshaw¿s shoes too. So, to help solve this and many more puzzling problems the Pepins encounter, the author asks for help from the readers. What will be the correct answer to the Pepins problems? To find out the answer and other problems the Pepins face, this crazy book about ¿The Pepins and their problems¿ by Polly Horvath is the book for you. The author Polly Horvath, has been writing since she was only eight years old. She grew up in Kalamazoo, Michigan. She attended college at the Canadian College of Dance in Toronto. She is now married with two daughters and they live in Victoria, British Columbia, Canada. Horvath, Polly. ¿The Pepins and Their Problems.¿ New York: Farrar Straus Giroux, 2004. Grade 3rd ¿ 5th

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  • Anonymous

    Posted August 25, 2006

    Pepins and Their Problems

    If a talking cow named Nelly who makes milk instead of lemonade sounds good to you, then this is the book for you! The Pepins and Their Problems is such an easy read for anyone from third grade to an adult. This fantasy based short story deals with a family who encounters very odd problems. Problems, such as a stranger showing up claiming that he is a long lost family member and Mrs. Pepin having the desire to be the queen of something always seem to be occurring. Mr. Pepin was a calm natured person, who when the stranger came to their house said, ¿Best to leave him there. Things will sort themselves out in time.¿ The author urges the readers to get involved in books by using the technique of asking readers what they would do to solve the Pepins problems. In one chapter she says, ¿A reader from Bonetrail, North Dakota, suggests that the Pepins move to the Dakotas, where he assures us the horizon is so far away one has plenty of time to retrieve the odds and ends of one¿s relatives before they completely disappear.¿ This helps the reader think that kids just like him have an input in her writing. Polly Horvath has been writing since she was eight years old. She has written seven other children¿s books. She won the National Book Award for the adult book, The Canning Season. She resides in British Columbia with her family. Horvath, Polly. The Pepins and Their Problems. New York: Farrar Straus Giroux, 2004.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted September 27, 2006

    Pepins and Their Problems

    Fantasy If a talking cow named Nelly who makes milk instead of lemonade sounds good to you, then this is the book for you! The Pepins and Their Problems is such an easy read for anyone from third grade to an adult. This fantasy based short story deals with a family who encounters very odd problems. Problems, such as a stranger showing up claiming that he is a long lost family member and Mrs. Pepin having the desire to be the queen of something always seem to be occurring. Mr. Pepin was a calm natured person, who when the stranger came to their house said, ¿Best to leave him there. Things will sort themselves out in time.¿ The author urges the readers to get involved in books by using the technique of asking readers what they would do to solve the Pepins problems. In one chapter she says, ¿A reader from Bonetrail, North Dakota, suggests that the Pepins move to the Dakotas, where he assures us the horizon is so far away one has plenty of time to retrieve the odds and ends of one¿s relatives before they completely disappear.¿ This helps the reader think that kids just like him have an input in her writing. Polly Horvath has been writing since she was eight years old. She has written seven other children¿s books. She won the National Book Award for the adult book, The Canning Season. She resides in British Columbia with her family. Horvath, Polly. The Pepins and Their Problems. New York: Farrar Straus Giroux, 2004.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted September 6, 2006

    Fantasy Review for The Pepins and Their Problems

    FANTASY: The Pepins and their Problems was book that was very hard to follow. It did not keep my attention while reading it. My mind tended to wonder in different directions about like the scenes in the book. I did not like the book, but young children might find it interesting. Polly Horvath has been writing books ever since she was 8 years old. For a while she wrote books and attended school. Then she wrote books and attended The Canadian College of Dance. She has written and waitressed and written and done temporary typing and written and tended babies (her own.) Now she just writes. She grew up in Kalamazoo, Michigan. The Pepins and their Problems is a book about a family that has some of the strangest situations happen to them. They have trouble solving their own problems so, they try to get help from others. They ask readers of the book for help or other people in the book for help. Sometimes the solutions are obvious, yet they still do not see them. However, at the end of the book things completely turn around for the Pepins. ¿Just recently the Pepins awoke to find toads in their shoes¿. This is an odd situation for most people, it is not a very common thing to happen. The Pepins are confused about what to do so one of them suggests, ¿Maybe we should go next door and ask Mr. Bradshaw if he has toads in his shoes,¿. This will not solve their problem of toads in their shoes, they will only know if their neighbor has toads in his. Horvath, Polly. The Pepins and their Problems. New York: Farrar Straus Giroux, 2004 Grade Level: 3rd to 5th

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  • Anonymous

    Posted August 31, 2006

    Great Book!

    This book is a very adventures trip into on family¿s problems that are far from ordinary. The author of this book Polly Horvath has been writing books since she was eight years old. She won the Parents Choice Award and a finalist of the Ruth Schwartz Award with this book. The main theme of this book is for the readers (us) to help the Pepins solve each problem they have. Some of the problems they have are trying to get of the roof of their house when the ladder falls down, figuring out why they have frogs in the shoes, and how to get the cow out of the bathtub. This book is in the genre of a fantasy because most of the problems the Pepins have do not happen in really life. It is a funny and exciting book to read because no one can predict what will happen next. I would recommend this book for young child to read around the grade level third to fifth. Make sure to read this book for more Pepins problems and adventures.

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