06 August 2015

Review: Two Piper Green Books by Ellen Potter

Piper Green and the Fairy Tree by Ellen PotterAlthough I really enjoy reading middle grade books, I rarely read anything geared for a younger audience, but there was something about Ellen Potter's Piper Green series was just too cute to pass up. The first two books, running about 100 pages each, were published this week.

Piper Green and the Fairy Tree introduces us to young Piper on the morning she's starting second grade. Her school is likely very different from the one you went to. You see, Piper lives on a small island off the coast of Maine, and the handful of elementary-school kids who live there must ride a lobster boat every day to a nearby island, where the schoolhouse is located.

Piper Green and the Fairy Tree: Too Much Luck by Ellen PotterOn this day, Piper is distressed because her older brother has had to move to the mainland because there is no middle school on the islands, and she misses him a lot. Then when she gets to school, she learns there's a new second-grade teacher, and she and Piper get off on the wrong foot. Fortunately, with the help of an elderly neighbor, Piper discovers there's a special tree right in her own front yard and realizes that change is not always a bad thing.

In Piper Green and the Fairy Tree: Too Much Luck, Piper learns that sometimes there can be too much a good thing. All in one morning her bedroom is painted her favorite color, she finds a perfect strawberry, she gets to eat a cinnamon roll for breakfast, and her wiggly front tooth finally falls out. Her friend Jacob is a bit worried, however: too much luck means something unlucky is about to happen, and sure enough, things soon start going downhill, beginning with Camilla, the new girl in her class. Can Piper find a way to turn her luck around?

Ellen Potter created a wonderful character in the spunky, outspoken Piper Green. She is mischievous, has an active imagination, loves her family, is a good friend, and can make mistakes--just like a regular little girl. Young readers, especially girls, will want to be her friend and will wish they had a fairy tree in their own yards.

Copyright Qin LengI have a weakness for books set in Maine, especially along the ocean, so I knew I'd be easily hooked. But anyone who loves the rugged Atlantic coast will appreciate that Potter has the details of island life just right. Lobstering is the principal profession, and the schoolgirls consider life jackets to be a fashion item.

The Piper Green stories are early chapter books, but they are nonetheless charmingly illustrated by Qin Leng. In the scan I've included here, Piper and her best friend, Ruby, are jumping for joy over Piper's good luck. The boy under the slide is pretending to be in jail; don't you love the look on his face as he watches the girls (click image to enlarge). The black-and-white drawings are surrounded by a rope border, which ties the pictures into the boating life of the Maine coast. Oh and don't miss the maps of the islands at the beginning of the books.

I wholeheartedly encourage you to read Ellen Potter's Piper Green books yourself and with your children. Although there are messages about being a good friend and about making the best of things when you're sad, most kids and adults are going to love Piper Green and the Fairy Tree and Piper Green and the Fairy Tree: Too Much Luck because of the fun stories, great characters, and cute illustrations. Put these on your buy list.

Published by Random House Children's Books / Knopf Books for Young Readers, 2015
ISBN-13: 97808553499230 and 97880553499278
Source: Review (eGalley) (see review policy)
Copyright © cbl for Beth Fish Reads, all rights reserved (see review policy)


bermudaonion 8/6/15, 8:53 AM  

These books look adorable!!

Daryl 8/6/15, 9:23 AM  

i am wishing for a kid of appropriate age to gift these

Vicki 8/6/15, 10:05 AM  

I love reading children's books and both look like really cute stories!

Ellen Potter 8/6/15, 12:25 PM  

Thank you for such a lovely review of my books!

Nan 8/7/15, 11:12 AM  

Thank you! I'm off to buy them and I'll save them for when the grandchildren are older. They sound wonderful.

Nan 8/7/15, 12:02 PM  

Interesting experience when I went to Amazon to order. The Fairy Tree in PB wouldn't ship for 1-2 months. The HC shipped now. Too Much Good Luck in PB would ship 1-3 weeks. Again HC available now. So I went over to B&N, renewed my membership ($25 for a year - and free shipping), bought both books in PB and they will be here next week. So, thank you, not only for mention of the books, but for providing me with an alternative bookstore. I am so used to Amazon that I rarely go anywhere else. It is nice to have a choice. I've noticed before that PB copies are not as often available on A as HC, which cost more, of course.

Stacie 8/8/15, 10:31 PM  

This sounds like really great books, but too young for my daughter. I'll have to keep these in mind for gifts for my nieces.

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