Bridging the Atlantic Book Divide: The Pip and Posy Books by Axel Scheffler, Nosy Crow

This series is to introduce dear friends across the water (see Intro), and who have been dearer to us through the toddler years than Pip and Posy? Having introduced Knuffle Bunny and Trixie (and her Daddy) to our UK friends, I must now introduce Pip and Posy to our USA friends. Honestly, we’re not sure how we would have got through ages 1-3 without them.

Pip is a bunny rabbit. Posy is a mouse. They are best friends, and the books each tell a story of them playing together, getting upset, and sorting things out. They have a gentle rhythm and immense good-hearted affection. The pictures are as delightful as you’d expect from Axel Scheffler who drew us the Gruffalo and so many other favourite characters.

And there is a story to help with most events in the life of a toddler, the missing stuffed animal (The Bedtime Frog, 2013); the ‘accident’ (The Little Puddle, 2011); the fight with a friend (The Snowy Day, 2012); the broken/burst toy (The Big Balloon, 2012); the snatched toy, the scraped knee (The Super Scooter, 2013); the scary costume (The Scary Monster, 2013). In every one, Pip or Posy or both of them are ‘very sad’ about the event – Poor Pip! Poor Posy! and their friend helps them to feel better – Hooray!

These sweet little stories are packed with gentle lessons in emotions and empathy. So often we say to the little one ‘just like Posy’, ‘just like Pip’, and the rhythm, that you can be sad, and cry, and someone will comfort you, and you can feel better seems to be immensely reassuring.

The characters lend themselves to improvisation. Our daughter is frightened of loud mechanical noises, especially vacuum cleaners (but also hair dryers, lawnmowers, anything similar). So we made up a version for her, in which Pip and Posy visit her at her Nanna’s house, and they eat snacks and make crumbs, so Nanna has to vacuum… We have another version in which they play on the swings – and swing so high up into the sky, but Pip/Posy didn’t like it so Posy/Pip started to cry – you get the general idea!

Pip and Posy have been dear and supportive friends through some difficult moments. The pictures are bright and joyful, but however simple the stories, the relationships, the bond between Pip and Posy throughout the series is a powerful demonstration of how to be friends – and isn’t that what toddler life is all about?

The Atlantic Book Divide: The Super Scooter, one of my favourites is ranked 5,400 in Books on the UK Amazon bestsellers list – but 1,115,000 in Books in the USA! The latest, The Friendly Snail (2021) is already out in the UK, though not available here until July – it’s going to be a big event in our house!

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