Cornbread & Poppy by Matthew Cordell

Published by Little, Brown Books for Young Readers

Summary:  Cornbread is a mouse who likes to plan ahead, particularly when winter is coming.  His friend Poppy, on the other hand, prefers to live in the moment, having fun adventures, and not worrying about the future.  So when it starts to get cold, Cornbread is in good shape, but Poppy is not.  All the usual sources of food have already been foraged, so Poppy decides to go up Holler Mountain, a foreboding place rumored to have owls that hunt mice.  In fact, their friend Ms. Ruthie went up the mountain a few years back and was never seen again.  Cornbread is too good a friend to let Ruthie go alone, so the two head off on their adventure together.  Without spoiling the ending too much, there is an owl, Ms. Ruthie is okay, Poppy ends up with plenty of food for the winter, and the two discover skiing…which Cornbread loves so much, he decides to ski instead of shoveling his walkway.  80 pages; grades K-2.

Pros:  Caldecott medalist Matthew Cordell proves himself an excellent writer in this beginning chapter book that has an engaging plot, adorable illustrations, and some pretty cozy winter scenes.  Book 2 came out in June; let’s hope there will be more.

Cons:  Seems as though Cornbread is picking up some bad habits from his friend.

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