Candlewick Press, 2008-2009
$12.99/book, ages 3-6, 32 pages
Tender lessons of sharing and caring flow though this happy collection of books about a little girl with blond curls who lives in a small yellow house with five animal friends.
Tilly is as good-natured as any child could be. She strolls along in her green jumper and polka dot red shirt from one activity to the next, ready to join in on the fun with Hector the cuddly pig, Pru the prancing bird, Tumpty the bespectacled elephant, Tiptoe the clamorous bunny and Doodle the plate-munching crocodile. And when any one of them is sad, Tilly knows just how to make her friend feel better.
In these first four stories, Tilly and the animals discover through their day-to-day play what it means to be kind and generous to each other and come together in joyful moments of shared activity. As the animals celebrate each other's special qualities, they learn to respect the things each holds dear, to recognize when one of them needs cheering up, and to forgive each other when they make a mistake and hurt feelings.
Hello Tilly introduces the series with Tilly flipping through her favorite story and Tiptoe stopping by to see if she'd like to make music together. They have a wildly fun time, with Tilly tooting her toy trumpet and Tiptoe banging his drum, and soon Hector joins in, dancing the wiggly-woo. Then Doodle invites them to a table of sweets and while the three friends are blissfully crunching and slurping, Pru pops out from under the table to surprise them.
So excited to show off her pretty ribbon and necklace, Pru leaps up on a wobbly pile of fruit, sending apples, bananas and oranges hurling toward her friends. No matter, the friends need only to duck and dodge, and soon Tilly is leading them on a pretty prance parade. But now they've slid into Tumpty's cushy behind -- "Whump! Bump! Whoops!." Of course Tumpty is all smiles and invites them for a ride on his back until the day ends, with Tilly drawing them near and reading a story of their happy life together.
The series continues with Happy Hector. Hector is happiest when he has Tilly all to himself in the big chair, but learns that even when his other friends scooch onto her lap, he's still just as special to her. In Where's Tumpty?, when Tumpty tries to hide by closing his eyes and sticking a box on his head, his friends can't stop laughing; then Tumpty can't be found and they worry they may never see their friend again. Then comes Pretty Pru -- Pru won't share any of the things that make her pretty, then learns that its OK to let everyone have a turn, after her friends sneak her purse, doll themselves up then feel badly they hid it from her.
Dunbar's soft, cheery illustrations perfectly match the sunny mood of this series and may just inspire your little one to do their own wiggly-woo.
Watch for the release Oct. 13 of the last two books in this series, Doodle Bites, and Good Night, Tiptoe.