Self-confidence is not all it’s cracked up to be, as we learn from ebullient little Poppy in Susan Eaddy’s Poppy’s Best Paper, charmingly illustrated by Rosalinde Bonnet.
When Poppy’s teacher, Mrs. Rose, asks the class to write about what they want to be when they grow up, Poppy’s elated. She wants to be a writer. She dashes off a few quick lines and deems her paper ‘‘pretty much perfect.” But Mrs. Rose doesn’t read Poppy’s essay. She reads her friend Lavender’s paper about becoming a brain surgeon. Poppy takes so many breaks while writing her next assignment that she has to finish it on the bus. When Lavender’s essay on world peace wins, Poppy can’t handle the injustice. She ends up in the Chill-Out chair and, after some rude behavior at home, is sent to her room.
After a good cry and several broken pencils, Poppy has an idea. This time she writes a sentence and takes time to fix it. She doesn’t stop to play with her dog or call Lavender. She focuses. This time, when Mrs. Rose prepares to read the best paper on “How to Do Something,” Poppy is not overly confident. She sits very still.
Poppy’s paper is read aloud! She’s written “How to Get in Trouble,” a topic that plays to her strengths. Bonnet’s lively drawings are endearing and keep the story moving. Thumbs-up to clay artist Susan Eaddy on her debut picture book. She’s created a character readers will gladly visit again and again.
Billie B. Little is the Founding Director of Discovery Center at Murfree Spring, a hands-on museum in Murfreesboro, Tennessee.