Review of Penny & Pip

Penny & Pip Penny & Pip
by Candace Fleming; illus. by Eric Rohmann
Preschool  Dlouhy/Atheneum    40 pp.
6/23    9781665913317    $18.99
e-book ed.  9781665913324    $10.99

Rohmann returns to the natural history museum setting of his debut, Time Flies, but this outing is far cozier than that 1995 Caldecott Honor Book. It’s just as fanciful, though. Penny, a brown-skinned girl with exuberant, textured hair, is visiting the museum on a school field trip. “In a quiet corner of the dinosaur exhibit, something astonishing happened.” Penny notices the hatching of an adorable baby sauropod, who wags his tail at her, then scales the short glass barrier and follows her. A little bit behind Penny, the wee green reptile creeps between a stuffed grizzly’s legs and later perches atop a model Earth, perspectives adding gentle humor. Their bond is cemented back in the dinosaur hall, where the little dino and Penny find themselves surrounded by massive skeletons. Fleming’s understated text leaves space for Rohmann to let composition and body language do the talking: Pip is the only living dinosaur there, and he needs Penny. Fortunately, Penny understands, and she arrives at a brilliant plan that allows them to leave the museum and head “into the future…together.” Young readers will be thoroughly charmed by the text’s absolute faith in this future. Rohmann’s loose strokes of black colored pencil, digitally colored, position his characters against uncomplicated, mostly white backgrounds that keep the focus on their emotional connection. Like Pip, this openhearted invitation to imagination is a keeper.

From the July/August 2023 issue of The Horn Book Magazine.

Vicky Smith

Vicky Smith is the children’s editor at Kirkus Reviews. She has served on a bunch of award committees and on the ALSC Board but she speaks for none of them, nor does she speak for this magazine, though it’s nice enough to print her opinions.

Be the first reader to comment.

Comment Policy:
  • Be respectful, and do not attack the author, people mentioned in the article, or other commenters. Take on the idea, not the messenger.
  • Don't use obscene, profane, or vulgar language.
  • Stay on point. Comments that stray from the topic at hand may be deleted.
  • Comments may be republished in print, online, or other forms of media.
  • If you see something objectionable, please let us know. Once a comment has been flagged, a staff member will investigate.



We are currently offering this content for free. Sign up now to activate your personal profile, where you can save articles for future viewing.