Friday, February 02, 2007

Review: Hop! Plop!

Hop! Plop! begins with two bored friends on a sunshiny day. They decide to head down to the playground for a little fun.

And that's when the trouble begins. You see, our two friends are physically incompatible--one is an elephant, the other a mouse. The seesaw is complete failure, with poor mouse set flying with a "hop," a "plop," a "boom," and a "bop." Mouse tries to eat an entire watermelon to even up their weight, but all that water content doesn't help. Needless to say, "the swings were a total flop" as well. As is the whirlybird.

Finally, the elephant discovers some playground equipment that will work for the two friends. He creates a slide from his own trunk. The two are delighted and celebrate with rounds of "you're my favorite."

Written in compact prose by Corey Rosen Schwartz and Tali Klein, Hop! Plop! is, on the surface of things, a simple tale. But it offers so much more. Hop! Plop! is the perfect choice for a preschool or kindergarten unit on weights and measures. It's also a classic sibling or friend "finding a compromise" story. With a little ingenuity, two friends or siblings can work anything out, despite their differences. Hop! Pop! is also an excellent early reader title. Schwartz and Klein have kept the difficult words to a minimum and there are plenty of excellent onomatopoeic words just perfect for sounding out.

Perhaps it's the flu or the bitter cold, but Olivier Dunrea's cheerful, warm illustrations really drew me in. They suggest a languid summer's day when kids (or mice and elephants) have the freedom to find something to do.

Hop! Plop! is highly recommended for children ages three to eight.
I received Hop! Plop! from one of the authors.