The Perfect Percival Priggs
Author: Julie-Anne Graham
Published: May 26, 2015 by Running Press
Goodreads Summary: Percival Priggs seems to be the perfect child. His parents are perfect, his grandparents are perfect, and even his pets are perfect. Percy’s shelf is packed with gleaming trophies. But with all the practice and preparation needed for his competitions, Percy never has a free moment.
Percy worries that his parents will not love him if he does not smile his prize-winning smile and perform perfectly in every competition. But after his rocket experiment turns into an imperfect mess, Mr. and Mrs. Priggs reveal their own funny imperfections and show Percy they are proud of him exactly as he is.
The message of reassurance and acceptance in The Perfect Percival Priggs is timely in our age of helicopter parenting, overscheduling, and increased testing standards for young children. But it is debut author Julie-Anne Graham’s fresh art style that truly sets the book apart. A former fashion designer with a love of textiles, Graham has built on each page a collage of textured patterns and drawn characters, adding humor and a world of detail to the Priggs’ home and story.
Ricki’s Review: I loved the layered textures of this book. The wide-eyed illustrations will draw readers in and allow them to pay close attention to the important lessons of this story. Many kids battle with inner desires for perfection, and Percival Priggs is no exception. He struggles to be just as perfect as his perfect family, and it weighs on him. He comes to learn that perhaps perfection isn’t all that important.
Kellee’s Review: I loved the unique illustrations of this one. They are eye-catching and are just quirky enough. I also think this is a perfect read aloud for all levels because of its theme. It is definitely going in my read aloud pile for home and school. It has a fun story, but has a much deeper message. I think so many of us face the pressure of being perfect and having a discussion with kids about this pressure and the unrealistic aspect of it would really help with anxiety they may be feeling. I also love the message of family.
Teachers’ Tools for Navigation: This text would offer meaningful classroom discussions about the fallacies of perfection. Students might share times they made mistakes, and this would allow them to understand that we are all human. They might analyze perfection as it is portrayed in society and the media. Additionally, teachers might use this book as a mentor text to teach alliteration in writing.
Discussion Questions: How does Percival’s family react to his worries about perfection?; Can a person be truly perfect?; Why do people have the desire to be perfect?; Share with a partner some of the ways you are an imperfect person and why this might just be okay.
Read This If You Loved: The Most Magnificent Thing by Ashley Spires; You Are (Not) Small by Anna Kang; Unicorn Thinks He’s Pretty Great by Bob Shea; Giraffes Can’t Dance by Giles Andreae; The Invisible Boy by Tracy Ludwig; The Dot by Peter H. Reynolds
**Thank you to Running Press for providing copies for review!**