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Terri Tatchell
Adventures of a Pangopup

Children/Young Adult; General Fiction (including literary and historical); (Market)

Pangopup is definitely old enough to leave his burrow and see the world. When his mother disagrees, the naughty pup waits for her to fall asleep and sneaks away. Outside, he meets a mischievous DIK DIK who is eager to show him some fun. However, DIK DIK’s idea of fun isn’t necessarily PANGOLIN proof, and Pangopup finds himself in more and more danger as their explorations of the African landscape take them further from his burrow. On the surface, “Adventures of a Pangopup” is about a naughty pangolin who thinks he knows better than his mom. But look deeper, and it’s a story about kindness, navigating peer pressure, learning from our mistakes, and above all, the power of unconditional love.
Tatchell and Sulima’s magnificent second Endangered and Misunderstood picture book is a timeless tribute to the sanctuary of home. Pangopup, a baby pangolin safely nestled in his underground burrow with his mother, quickly loses patience with being little and ventures out one night while his ever-watchful mother is sleeping. Amazed and slightly intimidated by the unexplored world outside of his burrow, Pangopup attaches himself to a new friend, a brave dik dik deer, with the goal of discovering exciting amusements together in uncharted territory. In the midst of their rousing adventures, Pangopup and Dik Dik run into a terrifying predator, leading to a newfound appreciation of the protection of home.

This amusing and entertaining story brings endangered species to life through thrilling escapades interspersed with more serious messages on balancing independence with security. Sulima’s vibrant, nuanced artwork adds depth to the experience, inviting the reader in to bounce joyfully through brightly painted landscapes full of imaginative details. Tatchell’s focus on the characters’ vulnerability illuminates their tenacity and spirit, endearing their curious and restless natures to readers. The singsong iambic verse (“I’d LOVE to play with you outside! This day can never end!”) is easy to read aloud and will delight young ones and parents alike.

The story’s subtle critique of human trafficking of endangered species is balanced by winsome art and enjoyable text. Young fans will fall in love with the main characters’ inquisitiveness about the world surrounding them, while adults will appreciate the lessons on exploring independence safely, helping others, and always coming home. Tatchell’s charming storytelling and Sulima’s gorgeous renditions of the Kenyan landscape and its inhabitants will earn this lovely picture book a spot on any shelf.

Takeaway: Lovable characters and beautiful art will entice readers of all ages into this story about seeking independence while appreciating the refuge of home.

Great for fans of Audrey Penn’s The Kissing Hand, Bob Darroch’s Little Kiwi Is Scared of the Dark.

Production grades
Cover: A
Design and typography: A+
Illustrations: A+
Editing: A
Marketing copy: A