Petunia Pepper’s Picture Day, written by Cathy Breisacher and illustrated by Christian Elden, follows second grader Petunia Pepper’s progress as she plots to preserve her prettiness for that all-important school picture. However, her plans go ker-PLOP as she plods, plunks, and plows through a progression of mishaps. In the end, she pursues and preserves a run-away poodle. Petunia’s exploits leave her looking a mess … but her perseverance also plants her picture on the front page of the local paper. At the day’s end, Petunia discovers that inner beauty is the real prize.
The plot earns extra points for how P words are placed in the story. Those piles of Ps put Petunia Pepper’s Picture Day in a prime position to teach alliteration!
At the conclusion, the author includes a letter to readers about how God loves us all just the way we are created… and how we can perceive everyday as an opportunity for a PERFECT picture day.
What I Like: I looked at this book first as an educator. The religious aspect is gentle enough to make it well suited for the public school setting. I would love to use it in my classroom. At the same time, the letter at the end appeals to those who want to further explore the scripture and ideas cleverly embedded in the story. The alliteration makes it a great tool for teaching both reading and writing. As an added bonus, the illustrations were bright, appealing, and, simply put, adorable. Both children and adults will be drawn (no pun intended) to the “cuteness” of the them.
What I Dislike: Nothing
Overall Rating: Excellent
Age Appeal: 4-8 years
Publisher Info: Warner Press, 2010; ISBN:978-1593173975; Hardcover, 32 pages; $14.99
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Special info: Visit the illustrator's website.
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