Review of Roll, Roll, Little Pea

Roll, Roll, Little Pea Roll, Roll, Little Pea
by Cécile Bergame; illus. by Magali Attiogbé; trans. from French by Angus Yuen-Killick
Preschool    Red Comet    24 pp.
6/23    9781636550442    $17.99

This sweet and tender tale opens with a brown-skinned child shelling peas into a bowl. Alas, one of the peas escapes and gets the story rolling. Without anthropomorphizing the runaway legume, the narrative follows the small, motion-propelled orb as it wends its way “across,” “under,” “around,” and “through” various obstacles indoors and out, evading a variety of creatures who would like to “taste,” “crunch,” “nibble,” “peck,” or “munch” it. Ultimately, it drops into a hole, and “the earth swallows the pea!” This, however, is not the end but rather the beginning of the cycle, which with time and good growing conditions allows the child to once more find the errant pea. Very much in the oral tradition, Bergame’s story is full of repetition, patterned action-filled sentences, and memorable vocabulary. Attiogbé’s slightly retro palette and flat, graphic illustration style give the book a timeless feel that calls to mind the works of Dahlov Ipcar and Ed Emberley. There have been a number of picture books about peas in recent years (e.g., Little Pea by Rosenthal and Corace; Baker’s LMNO Peas, rev. 3/10, and sequels); now, happily, this visually appealing and dynamic offering joins them.

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

Luann Toth
Luann Toth

Luann Toth is a former reviews editor at School Library Journal. She holds an MLIS from the University of Pittsburgh.

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