Gigi: The Purple Ponies is the latest book in Sheila Walsh's successful Gigi picture book series. Once again, the little girl who knows she's God's princess takes center stage - but this time, she and her best friend, Frances, decide they are going to be on The Purple Ponies soccer team. Gigi is convinced she's a natural athlete, and that she and Frances will have to look happy, "but not too happy" for the sake of the girls not chosen for the team.
To readers, it quickly becomes apparent that Gigi doesn't know much about soccer. When the coach asks her to dribble the ball, she thinks she's been asked to drool all over it. And when she attempts to dribble, she ends up falling bottom down on top of the ball. Gigi cries out that the ball is faulty, but her daddy says, "Gigi, it may be that soccer is just not for you...God has given you lots of gifts. It's your job to find out what those gifts are and use them to shine like God's princess."
This is tough for Gigi to come to terms with, but when Frances makes the team and Gigi doesn't, Gigi is a good sport. She congratulates Frances and decides there is still a way for them to share the soccer experience together. Gigi will be The Purple Ponies' cheerleader. After all, Gigi says, "I am very loud, so that must be one of my gifts."
The book ends by quoting Romans 12:6: "We all have different gifts. Each gift came because of the grace that God gave us."
What I Like: Gigi is a girl we can all recognize: Feminine, creative, a bit bossy...and a big heart. This book takes a common situation (trying out for a team sport) and shows that if we don't succeed, that's okay. God has other things in mind for us. It's an important lesson for today's children. Too, parents will catch lots of little jokes most children won't, which makes reading this book a lot of fun for adults, too.
What I Dislike: The illustrations by Meredith Johnson, while full of character and whimsy, are mostly in tones of pink and gray. It's a bit bland for my taste.
Overall Rating: Very good.
Age Appeal: According to the publisher, 4- 8, but my 2 1/2 year old likes it, too.
Publishing Info: Thomas Nelson, 2008; ISBN: 1400311241; hardback, $12.99
Special Info: Check out our reviews of other Sheila Walsh books.