Tuesday, September 17, 2019

Review - Ping

by Ani Castillo
Date: 2019
Publisher: Little, Brown Books for Young Readers
Reading level: C
Book type: picture book
Pages: 48
Format: e-book
Source: library

With the visual ingenuity of Press Here and the emotional resonance of What Do You Do with a Problem?, this wise and timely book about the fragile art of personal connection will strike a chord with children and adults alike.

In the era of social media, communication feels both more anxiety-producing, and more inescapable, than ever before. This clever, comforting picture book debut explores the challenges and joys of self-expression and social connection.

Using an imaginative visual metaphor to bring to life how we send out (ping!) and receive (pong!) communications, Ani Castillo's words and pictures will empower and inspire anyone who has experienced the fear of sharing themselves with the world.

With an artful, accessible package, an eloquent message, and a lot of heart, here is a new classic to bring courage and comfort to humans of all ages.

(synopsis from Goodreads)

This book is one big metaphor, with ping pong standing in for personal connection. As an adult, I can appreciate the message. I have my doubts, however, as to whether kids (especially younger ones) are going to "get it".

The simple text likens life to a game of ping pong. What you put out there are "pings" and what comes back to you are "pongs". You can only control the pings, not the pongs. The book basically acts like a simple instruction manual for connecting with others and with the world at large. It's fine, as a premise.

The illustrations leave me a bit cold. They're too simple for my taste. They clearly convey their message, but they're not especially fun to look at.

This is a book that will probably be overlooked because it's a picture book. But I can see it actually having more value to older readers (middle grade and up, probably). Younger children might like the bright colours and the funny-looking characters, but the message will likely go over their heads (especially since they're too young to have withdrawn into the world of virtual connection yet).

Premise: 4/5
Meter: n/a
Writing: 3/5
Illustrations: 3/5
Originality: 4/5

Enjoyment: 3/5

Overall Rating: 3.33 out of 5 ladybugs

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