Sonderbooks Book Reviews by Sondra Eklund

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*****= An all-time favorite
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***The Pepins and Their Problems

by Polly Horvath

pictures by Marilyn Hafner

Reviewed February 23, 2005.
Farrar Straus Giroux, New York, 2004.  179 pages.
Available at Sembach Library (JF HOR).

I would love to read this book aloud to a classroom full of elementary school students.  As it was, I couldn’t resist reading funny bits aloud to my family.

The Pepins have some silly problems.  They have toads in their shoes and they get stuck on their own roof. 

“Many, many books are written to be read passively.  The author discourages reader input.  The author actively dislikes it.  Shoo, shoo, says the author to his pesky readers.  But then most books, one could almost say all others, are not written about the Pepins, and therefore the characters do not need help.  Or if they need it, the characters seem to think they must persevere on their own with silent dignity.”

Fortunately, Polly Horvath promises her readers that if they will only concentrate and think hard about their solutions to the Pepins’ problems, she can pick up their psychic vibrations and share the solutions with the Pepins.  As proof, she shares with us the solutions she hears from readers from all sorts of oddly-named towns in the United States.

Bizarre things happen in this book, and bizarre solutions are offered.  This book is great fun because it’s simply outrageously silly.  When I could refrain from reading bits out loud, I still couldn’t keep from snorts of surprised laughter, which must have been quite annoying to my poor family innocently sitting in the same room.

Copyright © 2005 Sondra Eklund.  All rights reserved.

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