Delight in the world of Poppleton.



Early Reader

Ages 4-7

By Cynthia Rylant

Illustrated by Mark Teague

56 pages

Blue Sky Press



Cynthia Rylant is a gifted writer and has written books for all ages. In 1993, she won the Newberry Award for her book Missing May. Another of her titles, Van Gogh Café, was one of the first books I reviewed here. Having penned multiple books for beginning readers, she’s no stranger to this age group. Young readers may be familiar with her books about Henry and Mudge or Mr. Putter and Tabby, two of her other beginning readers series.

Rylant’s text in Poppleton is simple and concise and the stories are filled with humor and warmth. There are three short chapters, each containing a separate story. As with Rylant’s other beginning reader series, the Poppleton books focus on the merits and importance of friendship.

Mark Teague is a prolific illustrator with a crisp, cartoonish style. His watercolor and pencil illustrations in Poppleton are lively and colorful.  Capturing the comical aspect of the text, Teague portrays that comedy adeptly in the facial expressions and body language of the characters.

Poppleton is a pig: he was a city pig but now he’s a country pig. He used to jog; now he gardens. Instead of taking taxis, he takes naps.

He’s learning to adjust to country life and he’s made some new friends. And though he enjoys the company of his new neighbor, Cherry Sue (a llama), her constant invitations are a bit intrusive.  If only he could find a way to say no without hurting her feelings.

When Cherry Sue beckons him again in her signature way, Poppleton can take no more, and he soaks her with the garden hose! He immediately feels remorse and explains to Cherry Sue that, sometimes, he just wants to be left alone. It’s then that Cherry Sue confesses, after all her neighborly invitations, she’d also been feeling obligated to continue the practice. She was trying to find her own way out of the situation! So Poppleton soaks himself with the hose, and the two become best friends.

Poppleton’s favorite day of the week is Monday; Monday is library day and Poppleton takes library day very seriously. To prepare, he packs his bag: eyeglasses for reading, book marker for holding his place, pocket watch for the slow parts, tissues for sad parts, and lip balm for the dry parts.

He heads to the library, picks a table all to himself and buries his nose in an adventure book.

At the end of the day, he thanks the librarian, packs his things and slowly walks home, “all dreamy from so much adventure.” Library day is the best day of all.

Fillmore (a goat) is sick in bed and needs to take a pill. Poppleton is trying to help his friend but Fillmore can only take his pill if it’s hidden in food—sweet and soft food, with raspberry filling, and chocolate on top.

Cherry Sue donates her Heavenly Cake to the cause. Filmore doesn’t want to know which piece of cake contains the hidden pill, but after eating nine pieces he knows it’s in the tenth and will eat no more.

Now he wants something lemony, with coconut; Poppleton starts to feel ill too. It takes three days and twenty-seven cakes before the two friends feel well again.

There are seven books in the Poppleton series and all seven are in my personal library. Each time I revisit them, I am reminded of their virtue and am left with a feeling of happiness and delight.

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8 Responses so far

  1. 1

    Love Cynthia Rylant– I teach 3rd grade and have stacks of her books in our class library.

  2. 2

    Lottie Eve said,

    Your reviews make me want to read picture books more than I do right now 🙂

  3. 3

    Reblogged this on Mrs Vecchio's Kindergarten Class and commented:
    This is a great site! Lots of good books.

  4. 4

    flicblog said,

    I’ve been looking for new books for my 4 year old girl…this is awesome!! Thanks so much 🙂

  5. 5

    My French Heaven said,

    I love this, and the illustrations are fantastic. Makes you feel like a kid again without a care in the world. Thanks for sharing!

  6. 6

    momtimes4 said,

    The Poppleton books are some of my very favorite for my children. They are cute and funny.

  7. 7

    Kate said,

    You made me love Poppleton all over again. They are such clever and sweet stories.

  8. 8

    I’m not familiar with Poppleton, but he looks like someone I’d like to get to know. I am familiar with Ms Rylant and Mr Teague and enjoy their work a great deal. I’ll have to do some looking for Poppleton!

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