Gr 1-3-Pink and portly, this personable pig makes his eighth appearance for beginner readers. Poppleton's fans will need no urging to join in his concern over fallen icicles, his exacting venture into the art of sculpture, and the joys of a surprise birthday party catered by his loving friends, while children meeting him for the first time will likely scamper to the library to find the earlier titles. Teague's sunny illustrations enhance Rylant's cheery text, and youngsters can only sigh with satisfaction when Poppleton makes no birthday wish because "He had everything already." A delightful choice.-Patricia Manning, formerly at Eastchester Public Library, NY Copyright 2001 Cahners Business Information.
This wintry triptych of Poppleton tales is all readers have come to expect from Rylant's (Little Whistle's Dinner Party, above, etc.) worthy pig: dry humor, natty friendships, and doings that kids can relate to. In the first story, Poppleton's impressive display of icicles on his house, of which he is justly proud (though neighbors and family counsel him to remove them), is knocked to the ground by a wayward finch. The finch, Patrick by name, apologizes, then, seeing that Poppleton is a bit distraught, suggests Poppleton do something with them. They build a picket fence, and camaraderie. Next, since "winter always made Poppleton creative," he decides to make a bust of Cherry Sue's head. As he toils away, he must make frequent trips to Cherry Sue's house to take a good look at her hair-and her eyes and her nose. Finally Cherry Sue has had enough and she tweaks Poppleton's snout. Taken aback, he explains his harassment and Cherry Sue comes for a sitting. She even gives his nose a peck. Lastly, he's disappointed when all his pals can't go for a sleigh ride. Compounding the misery, they are all busy making delicious foods that he wishes he were eating. Then surprise, they descend upon Poppleton to celebrate his birthday (he'd forgotten). They even get to go for a midnight sleigh ride. All's well in Poppleton's world, a place in which kids will be happy to tarry (and so encourage beginning readers). Teague's (Horus's Horrible Day, p. 862, etc.) jovial, scrubbed artwork has Poppleton written all over it, especially when capturing Cherry Sue at her most indignant. (Easy reader. 3-8)