Book Review: Each Peach Pear Plum

Each Peach Pear Plum, by Janet and Allen Ahlberg, Viking Kestrel

As parents who try to get their offspring to sit and listen to a story learn early on, rhymes catch and hold the attention of small children. And some of them are even fun to read; like this one, one of my favorite rhyming storybooks. A lyrical, rhyming tag-you’re-it plot device introduces characters drawn from traditional children’s rhymes: Jack and Jill, Old Mother Hubbard, Tom Thumb, Robin Hood, and so on.

But as delightful as the text is, the illustrations are even better: cute, but not cloying, charmingly-rendered characters and picturesque landscapes of the English Countryside at its storybook best.

One caveat: there is a wicked witch in one bit. But Robin Hood brings her to justice, and, as on the last page she is shown smiling and eating plumb pie with the rest of the cast as an obviously accepted member of society, my 3-year-old grandson points out that “she repented.” (My 4-year-old grandson replied, “I think the plum pie made her repent.”)

This book has no moral, no message. It’s just a delightful, beautifully-done book for the youngest readers. But here’s what makes it valuable – it’s a book which just might keep a toddler’s attention long enough for him to be infected with the love of books. And very importantly – since when children of this age fall in love with a book, they want to hear it over and over – it’s a book neither of you will get tired of quickly.