The Problem with Poppy

Children - Picture Book
17 Pages
Reviewed on 05/27/2021
Buy on Amazon

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Author Biography

Emma Sandford is a children’s author based in Cheshire. Her debut picture book, The Problem with Poppy, was published by Full Media on 1 June 2021. Set in the Sumatran rainforest, it tells the story of Poppy the porcupine, whose traumatic past causes her to act defensively towards others – until one day when she meets a playful tiger cub and the two develop an unlikely friendship.

Emma wanted to write a children’s book that draws on her own experiences and helps young children overcome certain emotional issues they may have. Unfortunately, due to traumatic events in her own life, Emma has also been defensive in situations where she didn’t need to be, and was frightened to let people get close to her. The Problem With Poppy teaches kids that while everybody has a natural defence mechanism, there is a time and a place to use it.

Before the ink was dry on the first print run of The Problem with Poppy, Emma had written a second book set in Sumatra. What’s Troubling Tawny? was published in January 2022 and the third and final book in the Sumatran Trilogy, Hooray for Heidi!, was released in September 2022. All three were illustrated by Olena Osadcha and have been created in partnership with Rainforest Trust UK. We are proud to say that £1 per book sale of all three titles in the Sumatran Trilogy is going to Rainforest Trust UK, to save the rainforest and the animals that inhabit them.

    Book Review

Reviewed by Jon Michael Miller for Readers' Favorite

The Problem with Poppy by Emma Sandford (illustrated magnificently by Olena Osadcha) is a lovely story about being scared to make friends and about overcoming that fear. We can imagine how difficult it is for porcupines to form acquaintances! Rory is a boy tiger cub who happens upon Poppy, a porcupine chomping in the interior of a log. Rory is scared off by Poppy’s defensive quills. Poppy feels bad about not making friends and heads off in search of Rory. Then Man arrives (reminiscent of the Bambi tale) and traps the tiger cub, and Poppy ingeniously helps Rory escape. All of this happens amid the lush jungle where we see besides the tiger cub and the porcupine, a parrot, birds flying, a snake, a cockatoo, a monkey, some worms, a snail, and some bugs.

The Problem with Poppy by Emma Sandford is a wonderful story to teach a child not to be afraid of other children’s differences, and of their own. We can all be friends, and even help each other as Poppy does for Rory. The graphics are fantastic, the verdant jungle, the animals, Rory with his stripes and Poppy's sharp quills, and both with their big, big eyes. The colors are bright and vivid with blues and greens. And there is a rich vocabulary for learning: pondered, curious, darted, snooped, den, bellowed, and engine, among many others. In an afterword, Sandford explains her launching of this wonderful book to help maintain the rainforest, the Sumatran forest in Indonesia, in particular, which is the setting of the story. Best of all are the two delightful puns—the tiger cub’s name Rory and roaring, and the porcupine’s name Poppy and popping! The Problem with Poppy by Emma Sandford is a perfect combination of fun and learning that any little kid will love.