Despite the fact that I always misremember this title as The Great and Terrible Plop, this book (actual title: The Terrible Plop) is anything but forgettable. In recent weeks, I’ve used it twice when we had groups of kids visit the library, and both times, I have been as enchanted as the audience. What’s so special about Ursula Dubosarsky’s book? Where to begin…
First of all, I think the illustrations are captivating. Andrew Joyner uses bright colours to draw attention to his charmingly cartoonish characters, all of whom are graced with adorable expressions.
Add to the great illustrations a funny and very readable story and you have the making of an awesome picture book. As the story begins, we meet a happy little rabbit, sitting with his rabbit friends by a lake on a sunny afternoon. Suddenly, the rabbits are frightened when they hear a Terrible PLOP. They take off running in order to escape this unknown terror. As they run, they come across a fox, who also takes off when he hears about the Terrible PLOP. Soon, all the animals of the forest are racing as fast as they can away from the PLOP (side note: this forest has elephants, pigs, bats and tigers). Until they run into the big brown bear, who refuses to run away from a silly old PLOP.
What makes this story even more readable is the fact that it is a rhyming picture book, but one which flows wonderfully and doesn’t twist your tongue at all. It’s a book the benefits from being read aloud, and it’s easy to get wrapped up in the story when you read it to children, and very easy to find yourself putting on a gruff bear voice when you read him say: “The Terrible PLOP? What do I care About a silly old PLOP?” The more I read it, the gruffer and grumpier my voice became!
As far as awesome picture books go, this one is a star.