Have you ever wished you could fly? Or perhaps wished for a chance to explore but were held back by rules and restrictions?
I always thought it would be marvellous to be a bird, soaring above the earth, looking down upon its beauty. Oh, the freedom it would bring. Looking out at the world from a plane’s window is, for me, the nearest thing. But for Dimity Powell’s latest endearing character Pippa, flight is a reality.
You see, Pippa is a pigeon, and, like all pigeons, Pippa was born to fly. She wants nothing more than to spread her wings and go exploring. However, her parents aren’t sure she’s ready and fill her head with fears and days with restrictions to keep her close at home. It works for a while. But, one day when her parents are otherwise occupied, Pippa discovers she can fly, and that’s where her adventures, explorations and discoveries begin.
Pippa is a delightful new picture book that is bound to win hearts and spread joy. Award-winning author Dimity Powell describes her book thus:
“Pippa is a light-hearted adventure tale about striking out alone, following your dreams and desires and experiencing what it’s like when you get there. It is a tale that acknowledges the sometimes-suffocating affection parents have for their offspring, which can temper and frustrate a child’s sense of freedom and adventure, and suggests that it’s okay to take risks from time to time. Although the adventure may be perilous, it is still worth experiencing for you never know what glorious discoveries lie ahead.
Pippa is small, determined, stubborn, and wilful, just like many other six-year-olds. And, like many youngsters who’ve wanted more than they can handle, when she finally does return to her flock, she realises that when it comes to true security and contentment, it’s family that matter most.”
About Dimity Powell
I previously introduced Dimity to you in her popular guest post Libraries: A wonderous universe to explore and in an interview about her picture book At the End of Holyrood Lane for which she was recently awarded the Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators’ Crystal Kite Members’ Choice 2019 Award, Australia and New Zealand region.
Dimity likes to fill every spare moment with words. She writes and reviews stories exclusively for kids and is the Managing Editor for Kids’ Book Review. Her word webs appear in anthologies, school magazines, junior novels, as creative digital content, and picture books including The Fix-It Man (2017), At The End of Holyrood Lane (2018) and Pippa (2019) with more to follow in 2020 and beyond.
Dimity believes picture books are soul food, to be consumed at least 10 times a week. If these aren’t available, she’ll settle for ice-cream. She lives just around the corner from Bat Man on the Gold Coast although she still prefers hanging out in libraries than with superheroes.
Dimity’s inspiration for writing about Pippa
“Pippa was inspired by my childhood memories of pigeon keeping. We had a loft in the backyard and kept up to 20 pigeons at a time. They were incredibly good parents and FAST breeders so we were never short of eggs or babies — called squeakers because of their constant excited squeaking for food whenever a parent was about.”
Ideas for discussion and writing using Pippa in your classroom
Let’s go exploring
The story begins, “Pippa loved to explore.”
What things do you think Pippa likes to explore? Where would she explore?
What things do you like to explore? Where do you like to explore?
List things and places children like to explore on a chart.
Encourage children to tell stories about their explorations and discoveries. If interest is high. Encourage them to write about their explorations.
Discuss (and write about) some what if scenarios; for example:
What if you were exploring in the bush and you came across some huge animal tracks?
What if you were exploring in a dark cave and your torch goes out, just as you hear a loud grumbling from the back of the cave?
What holds you back?
Pippa’s parents tell her to come back, to be careful or she’ll fall. They tell scary stories so she won’t fly away and remind her that she’s too young.
Why do you think Pippa’s parents tell her those things?
Do your parents ever tell you things like that? What things do they tell you? How does it make you feel?
Why do you think your parents tell you those things?
Have you ever done something that your parents told you to not do? What happened? How did you feel then? How did your parents respond?
Do you think children should always do what their parents tell them? When would it be okay to not do what your parents tell you?
What could you do if you disagree with a rule?
Who was right?
One day when her parents were away, Pippa discovered she could fly so she flew away.
Was this a good thing for Pippa to do? Why or why not?
What did Pippa like about flying away on her own?
What did Pippa not like about flying away on her own?
How do you think Pippa felt when she was lost?
How did she feel when she got home?
Do you think she will go away on her own again?
(Children might like to consider what could happen to Pippa on a second adventure and write her story.)
What would you be?
Have you ever wished you could fly like a bird? If you could be any animal, which would you be?
Read the poem, If you were an animal.
Discuss children’s suggestions of what they would be. Encourage them to give reasons; for example, If I was an animal I would be a … because …
Children could write and illustrate their statements. They may like to write a story about the animal’s (their) adventures.
Note: This poem, including additional teaching ideas, is now available to download free in the readilearn collection. Click here.
Other Pippa teaching ideas
You can find lots of other fun ideas to support your reading of Pippa on Dimity’s website here.
Visit Ford Street Publishing for some excellent teaching notes, more detailed information about Dimity and her inspiration for writing the story, and information about illustrator Andrew Plant.
Discover more about Dimity Powell and her writing at:
or connect with her on social media:
Facebook: Dimity Powell Author
Linkedin: Dimity Powell
Instagram: Dimity Powell
Pippa is available from Ford Street Publishing, online and in all great books shops throughout the UK, US, Canada, Australia and New Zealand. Signed copies available directly from the author at www.dimitypowell.com
Author: Dimity Powell
Illustrator: Andrew Plant
Published: July 2019 (HB) February 2020 (PB)
Publisher: Ford Street Publishing, $16.95 – $24.95
ISBN: 9781925804263 (HB) 9781925804270 (PB)
Format: Hardcover 32pp
Ideal for: 3–6 years
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