A Lot or a Little?
What you will—and won't—find in this book.
Shows the value of being prepared, like storing up food for the winter.
A good friend stands by you when life is tough. Preparation is key to success. Appreciate differences in semblance, styles and strengths. Facing your fears can lead to wonderful surprises.
Positive Role Models
Cornbread prepares for the winter by storing up food little by little so that he won't go hungry. He offers to share his food with Poppy. He stands by Poppy when her mistake comes back to bite her – even though he warns her several times. In the end, he's even able to apply a lesson he learned from Poppy.
The main characters are male and female mice. They encounter Bernard, an owl they are initially afraid of because he is different and because they perceive him as a threat. They get to know him, and his kindness proves that they didn't need to be afraid at all. Ms. Ruthie is an older mouse, and as a female, is recognized as the only mouse to ever venture up Holler Mountain.
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Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that Cornbread & Poppy is an illustrated chapter book by author, illustrator, and Caldecott Medalist Matthew Cordell (Wolf in the Snow). It is an appropriate first chapter book for young readers who are ready for the next step beyond picture books. There are three named chapters -- "The First Snow," "Holler Mountain" and "The Food Problem" -- introduced in a table of contents. It is illustrated in Cordell's distinctive style, which plays up the whimsical feeling of the story. The story takes readers on an adventure that emphasizes the importance of friendship and pleasantly surprises its audience. Perhaps even more compelling are the larger messages about accepting differences and facing fears.
Is It Any Good?
Time flies when you're having fun, and Mathew Cordell's 80-page chapter book for early readers definitely moves quickly! Cornbread & Poppy is an entertaining read, full of suspense and surprises. It is a great introduction to chapter books: The chapters will make an early reader feel advanced, and the illustrations and amount of text on each page make the reading experience feel not so overwhelming. The title characters are effectively developed to be likable, despite their varying styles and Poppy's questionable decision making.
Cordell's recognizable artistic style complements the story and illustrates the beauty of friendship. Parents will appreciate the broader lessons about seeking adventure, accepting differences, facing fears, and being a loyal friend that their young readers will gain while reading. Kids will look forward to more Cornbread & Poppy adventures in future installments of the series.
Did we miss something on diversity?
Research shows a connection between kids' healthy self-esteem and positive portrayals in media. That's why we've added a new "Diverse Representations" section to our reviews that will be rolling out on an ongoing basis. You can help us help kids by suggesting a diversity update.