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Saturday, June 15, 2013

Phoebe & Digger, written by Tricia Springstubb and illustrated by Jeff Newman. Candlewood, Random House. 2013. $19.00 ages 3 and up

"Finally, off they went. Both Phoebe and Digger loved the park.
The park had trees and swings and a kindly man who sold frozen treats.
But best of all, the park had...
real dirt.
Mama and the baby sank onto a boring bench.
Phoebe and Digger went straight to work."

It's tough having a new baby in the house and being a caring big sister!
And it's also tough facing down a bully...
There are many stories about both things; but this one is very special and will definitely find a place on my 'keeper' shelf!

When her mom gets a new baby, Phoebe gets Digger. At that moment in time, nothing could make her happier. Digger has great sympathy for Phoebe's plight and is willing to share his disgust for the disruption in her life. Together they are as busy as Mama and the baby are. Digger has a quick 'RMM!' response to every cute little thing that the baby does. He is irreverent and that allows Phoebe to be equally so!

When it gets to be too much, Mama proposes a trip to the park. It's a perfect place for building and knocking down, for foraging for a worm that scares another small boy. That gets them in trouble, resulting in a time-out! When a big girl bully arrives with a need to try the digger herself, Phoebe tries everything she has learned to get Digger back. It's Mama to the rescue without a word or sound from Phoebe.

Have I told you before how much I love Jeff Newman's art? I hope so. He is phenomenal! His ability to extend the story beyond the simple, straightforward and lively text is beyond's downright awesome! Phoebe and Digger share mutual joy when they first set eyes on each other. While helping Mama with the gardening (as the baby is doing), Digger chomps roses. There is not much Digger won't do (with ample help from Phoebe) to get attention.  I love the loose lines, the bold colors and the constantly changing expressions.

There is so much to see here; observant young readers will love this story that speaks to their own personal feelings and will take note of the expressive, action-filled vignettes that are not necessarily part of the texted tale. So, keep your eyes and ears open as you share this story and see what little ones are noticing. I promise you will be reading it over and over again!

1 comment:

  1. Glad you like the book, and thanks so much for your kind words!