Pepi Sings a New Song

Laura Ljungkvist, S&S/Beach Lane, $16.99 (40p) ISBN 978-1-4169-9138-0
Pepi, a singing white cockatoo parrot, has a repertoire that consists of just one song about astronomy, to the tune of "Twinkle, Twinkle, Little Star." In need of fresh material, he visits local businesses to learn new words. Ljungkvist's stencil-like digital illustrations, featuring yarn lines and wallpaper motifs, alternate between Pepi exchanging greetings with a particular neighbor (‘Hello, Pepi!' said Aurora. ‘Would you like to find all the creative things in my studio?"), and multiple images of Pepi with speech balloons containing the new vocabulary he's learned (like "chartreuse" and "masterpiece"). At Manuel's bakery, Pepi drizzles icing, balances on a rolling pin, and licks a whisk. At Cynthia's dog park, Pepi squawks the names of canine breeds and at Malcolm's market, varieties of produce. He returns home to his stargazing owner, Peter, reciting: "Twinkle, twinkle, little flute/ Poodle, xylophone, cobalt, fruit." Although Pepi needs to work on his melody, the allure is in pointing out the labeled items in Ljungkvist's jazzy retro designs. Ages 4–8. (Apr.)
Reviewed on: 08/23/2010
Release date: 04/01/2010
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