Poppy and Ella, two zany birds who are fast friends, have their differences from time to time. The three stories in this book tackle problems common to friendships, especially those between young children: hurt feelings, disagreements, and fears. Author/illustrator Jef Kaminsky is a former kindergarten teacher, and his knowledge of children makes the characters all the more lifelike and entertaining. These simple tales are appropriate for those as young as three, but sophisticated enough for six- and seven-year-olds as well.

Each story presents a different dilemma. In Ruffled Feathers, Poppy is invited to Ella's for dinner. Embarrassed about his baldness, he tapes paper feathers to himself. The feathers begin to fall off (especially when Poppy sneezes) and Ella laughs; Poppy flies home in shame. Luckily, Ella knows just what to do. In To Beach His Own, Poppy and Ella go to the seaside together, but they don't want to do the same things at the same time. On this particular day, the pair just weren't clicking. Darkness Falls describes a night when the electricity shuts off, and Ella must confess she's afraid of the dark. In each story, a quick, kind-hearted solution is reached, showing young readers how good friends can work out their problems. Parents and teachers might want to keep Poppy &and Ella (ages 3-6) in reserve to pull out when their own little birds are disagreeing.

Alice Cary writes from her home in Groton, Massachusetts.

comments powered by Disqus