Bardhan-Quallen, Sudipta, illus. by Sarah Dillard. Tightrope Poppy The High-Wire Pig. Union Square Kids, 2006. ISBN 978-1402724114 32 pp. $
Poppy is a persevering pig that dreams about a life beyond wallowing in the mud. She joins the circus to walk the tightrope, convinced her days of walking on fence rails insure her success, and when she falls, a heartfelt email from Mom inspires her to dust off her wounded pride and try, try again. Poppy is all heart and sunny personality. Told in rhyming text grouped in limericks with couplets interspersed, the story gathers a rollicking pace.
The illustrations are painstaking – finely patterned dresses, individual blades of grass, a unique face on every audience member in the big top. The palette of farm brown and greens transcends to soft red, blue, and gold as Poppy’s life changes; the final spread’s all yellow background indicates the achievement of goals. Perspective and the amount of space each illustration takes up on the page varies. This positive book about believing in your dreams is a winner.