I loved Paul Schmid's A Pet for Petunia. So I was quite pleased when Schmid's newest picture book, Perfectly Percy, arrived. Like A Pet for Petunia, Perfectly Percy is about someone whose preferences are not a good fit with reality (Petunia wanted to have a skunk for a pet).
In this case, Percy is a young porcupine who loves, loves, loves balloons. As the illustrations make clear, however, balloons and porcupines are not a successful fit. Percy strives to find a solution to his problem. He asks people he trusts for help. But in the end, he comes up with a solution all on his own. There's a subtle message here about solving one's own problems, but this message is conveyed utterly through Percy's actions and perspective, so the book doesn't feel at all didactic.
Schmid's tone is rather tongue-in-cheek. Like this:
"But HAPPY little porcupines with balloons are soon SAD little porcupines."
He closed his eyes tight.
But no thoughts came.
Well, useful thoughts, anyway."
The latter example is accompanied by a picture of Percy, eyes shut tight, thinking of an ice cream cone.
As this example shows, the text and illustrations are well-integrated in this author illustrated picture book. Percy's sister's "not very practical" idea is accompanied by a picture of Percy with marshmallows stuck to the ends of several quills.
Percy's joy when he finally, after a whole day and night of thinking, comes up with a workable idea, is a delight to behold.
Schmid's pencil on paper and Photoshop illustrations are minimalist, primarily showing Percy with a few props (bike, rock, etc.) against a solid-colored background. But Percy, with his tangle of quills and pink nose, is irresistible. I foresee young readers, upon finishing the book, sitting down to draw their own porcupines.
I think that the simplicity of both illustrations and text makes Perfectly Percy more suited to preschoolers than to elementary school kids. It could almost work as an early reader, too, with lots of repetition to the text, and only a handful of challenging words. I plan to try this one on Baby Bookworm tonight, and I expect it to become a favorite. Recommended for home and stotrytime use.
Publisher: HarperCollins (@HarperChildrens)
Publication Date: January 29, 2013
Source of Book: Review copy from the publisher
© 2013 by Jennifer Robinson of Jen Robinson's Book Page. All rights reserved. This site is an Amazon affiliate, and purchases made through Amazon links may result in my receiving a small commission (at no additional cost to you).