Posted on April 3, 2010 by Suzan Woodard in Uncategorized.
It’s human nature for people to love a good story about an underdog. Small guy beats big guy. It’s a classic theme – one that kids just eat up!
Tonight, Butler University, a small school in Indianapolis, will battle it out in the Final 4 of the NCAA’s March Madness basketball tournament against huge schools with much bigger sports programs. Back in the Depression, a small thoroughbred horse named Seabiscuit went from long shot to miracle worker when he soundly upset War Admiral – the 1938 Triple Crown Winner – in the “Match of the Century.” And of course, Americans love to retell how their ragtag army of patriots upset the British Empire more than two centuries ago.
The children’s picture book “Pippo the Fool” fits snugly in this genre. It’s a tale of an underdog, who initially gets little respect, but triumphs in the end. Children going through such a social dilemma will relate, especially kids who are a little quirky or are talented but fly under the radar.
What makes this book published by Charlesbridge an even better story is that the tale is true! Author Tracey E. Fern brings history to life as she retells the unusual circumstances surrounding the finishing of the dome on Florence’s Cathedral of Santa Maria del Fiore in Italy more than 600 years ago. It features a contest, a braggart, an underdog and justice – all tied up in pretty packaging, thanks to the charming illustrations by Pau Estrada.
“Pippo the Fool” also teaches moral lessons. It encourages readers to reach for the stars. It teaches the value of perseverance and the pursuit of happiness, whether faced with ridicule from the town bully, health challenges or unfair circumstances. Perhaps best of all is the belief that justice is worth hoping for!