Pippa and the troublesome twins by Dimity Powell and Andrew Plant

cover image

Andrew Platt’s illustrations stand out and many readers will pick up this book from the display recognising his distinctive style, and then be enthralled by the accompanying story of sibling rivalry. 

This story has Pippa the pigeon having to contend with her twin baby brothers, Pepi and Penn. She cannot understand why her parents Peg and Percy are always at the beck and call of the twins, unable to answer her questions about the flight to the forest in the distance, a place she wants to go for its peace and quiet.  When they go off to find even more food for the pair, Pippa is left to babysit. It is the last thing she wants to do but when she looks at the tree trunk she notices a predator climbing towards the trio. Pippa raises her wings and flies at the snarling cat, hitting it with the hardest part of her wing, the sound resonating around the tree. The cat runs off, leaving Pippa with two very grateful squabs. After that she has an idea of how to improve their skills at flying and they practise until all three can make the trip to the forest together. 

This charming story of sibling rivalry, of familial relationships will resonate with younger children for whom this is an issue in their own home. Many children will have come across a situation where they and their brothers and sisters are at odds, so the story will be quite familiar and its resolution a neat conclusion that all can emulate. Pippa is unhappy about having to babysit but put into a position where she can save her siblings, she acts decisively. 

A sequel to Pippa (2019) the plucky pigeon will win over even more fans with this new story. She parallels what many children feel when there is a new child in the home, or if they must take on new responsibilities, or their parents no longer have as much time for them, or they feel they have been sidelined. Pippa feels what they feel but put into a position where she can act on her siblings' behalf, she protects them, putting herself in danger.

A lovely story, beautifully illustrated, Pippa and the troublesome twins is an engaging read aloud, with repetition enough to keep them listening and predicting the up coming words, and a frisson of danger to keep them om their toes. Teacher's notes are available.

Themes: Pigeons, Sibling rivalry, Families, Humour.

Fran Knight