________________ CM . . . . Volume XIX Number 33. . . .April 26, 2013



Paola Opal.
Vancouver, BC: Simply Read Books, 2012.
24 pp., board, $8.95.
ISBN 978-1-897476-92-5.

Preschool / Birth-age 3.

Review by Dave Jenkinson.

*** /4



Oops! Someone is
already here.

“Hi! I’m Corry,” he says. “Are you playing hide
and seek?”

Hide and seek?

I guess I am!”


Pippy is a young and shy seahorse who chooses to be a bystander while the other seahorses of her age are playing games. Though Pippy’s father encourages her to join the others, Pippy’s shyness leads her to hide amidst the coral where her father finds her and again prompts her to join the other seahorse youngsters in play. Pippy then hides behind some seagrass, but again her father finds her. Once more, Pippy tries to secret herself away from the eyes of her encouraging/pushy father, but Pippy’s hiding behind a rock brings her in contact with Corry (see excerpt above) who assumes, not entirely incorrectly, that Pippy is engaged in a game of hide and seek. When Cory asks Pippy if she will play the game with him, she agrees, saying “Sure! I like hiding.” Pippy’s father, who has been looking for her, is pleased to see that his daughter has finally made a new friend.

internal art     As Paola has done in her other books in the “Simply Small” series, in Pippy, she again weaves her brief storyline around a real toddler concern, in this case, shyness. While Opal’s earlier books have used baby four-legged and two-winged critters as principal characters, with Pippy, she turns to a creature of the ocean, the seahorse. Though the book’s intended audience may have encountered some of the creatures from other books in the series either in the wild, at the zoo or on television, it is much less likely that they will have seen a seahorse. Consequently, their connecting or identifying with the legless/wingless Pippy may require a bit more of them, especially when they also need to understand that the blue background and the bubbles indicate that the action is taking place under water.

In showing the father doing the parenting, Opal is not being politically correct but is reflecting the fact that it is the male seahorse that carries the fertilized eggs throughout the gestation period. However, in the real ocean world, once the eggs are hatched, the new seahorses are entirely on their own, and “Daddy” wouldn’t actually be looking for Pippy.

Toddlers who have enjoyed the other books in the “Simply Small” series will want to borrow this book from their local libraries or wish to add it to their home libraries.


Dave Jenkinson, CM’s editor, lives in Winnipeg, MB.

To comment on this title or this review, send mail to cm@umanitoba.ca.

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