When a bright yellow chick named Pip hatches, the first thing this inquisitive soul spots is Pup, a beagle snoozing in the farmyard, and thus an unlikely alliance ensues in Eugene Yelchin’s charming picture book Pip & Pup.
It’s not easy to tell a story without words, but Yelchin is a master―the myriad expressions of his illustrations depicting this lovable pair speak volumes. Although his art seems childlike, as if drawn by crayon, every animal’s face leaps to life. An astonished Pip uses his wings like binoculars to first spot Pup, and soon there’s a frantic Pip, who runs away in terror with Pup in eager pursuit. Pip makes a chaotic run through the barnyard, finally attempting to hide back in his newly hatched shell.
Yelchin works more of his magic with that eggshell, having Pip use its pieces as both a rain hat and rowboat during a frightening thunderstorm. Pip rows over to whimpering Pup, offering a rain hat as comfort, establishing their relationship. But as in all friendships, there are ups and downs. Before long, trouble rears its head when Pup accidentally crushes the shell to bits. Can their new friendship be saved?
Russian-born Yelchin, who won a Newbery Honor for Breaking Stalin’s Nose, knows that actions often speak louder than words. Pip & Pup is a wonderful story about how unexpected friendships evolve―and survive. This story is perfect for a quick but quiet burst of adventure before bedtime.