Cornbread & Poppy

Little, Brown. Jan. 2022. 80p. pap. $6.99. ISBN 9780759554863.
K-Gr 3–Best friends Cornbread and Poppy, two mice, are an odd couple. Cornbread is carefully preparing for winter, but Poppy is “not one to worry.” In events reminiscent of Aesop’s “The Ants and the Grasshopper” fable, Poppy decides to forage for supplies too late. The friends visit all their neighbors, but there is nothing left, so they decide to brave the dangers of Holler Mountain. Although the trip is dangerous, Poppy and Cornbread draw courage from their closeness. Each scene reveals more of the character’s personalities; Cornbread’s careful planning (complete with clipboard) is contrasted with Poppy’s breezy, procrastinating attitude. Cordell’s charming pen-and-ink illustrations with watercolor lend a feeling of coziness to this tale of friends who are different. Their facial expressions range from delighted smiles as they enjoy bike rides together to wide-eyed shrieks of terror as they confront the dangers of the mountain. A sense of suspense moves readers from one chapter to the next, as does the thrill of a winged shadow looming over the duo, or the delight when they discover an old acquaintance. Short sentences and repetition of key phrases make the story easy to follow for those transitioning to early chapter books, while the art clearly captures the emotional tone.
VERDICT A perfect choice for fans of Jacqueline Davies’s “Sydney and Taylor” series, and other dynamic duos.

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