Little, Brown, 2019.
Hardcover Picture Book, 32 pp.
Ping was a source of curiosity, that cover and how it landed it on all the lists. Oh, my. Think how picture books like Yamada’s question series (What Do You Do with an Idea? …a Problem?, etc.) resonate with an adult readership, to say nothing of the child audiences. Ping is one I will be recommending to my creative friends who’ve put themselves out there on social media.
Ani Castillo uses the game of Ping Pong to talk about the call and response of relationships. Our Ping may receive a Pong in response and that response can be any number of “feelings, intentions, or ideas” (jacket copy). What I love is how Castillo reminds us that “although it’s good to image the best possible Ping. It helps to remember that it is not up to you.” She acknowledges how Pongs aren’t always going to be positive, but continues on, herself, in the positive, encouraging the reader to Ping “freely”, “curiously”, “mindfully”, etc. And she includes the reminder that after we Ping, there is a time to wait for the Pong. As with the game, after we Ping, we anticipate a Pong, and Castillo takes time to explore what that could look like.
The illustrations are bright and expressive, as straightforward and as certain as the text (which is big enough for your beginning readers). The inspirational listings of how we can Ping are accompanied by simple action-focused-images that could translate into adding options of your own.
Castillo’s use of my favorite color notwithstanding, I’m so excited about this picture book. I would’ve owned it with the daughter (I might still with her aged 19.) It’s a good gift, to yourself, or to anyone one special in your life whether they are an adult or child.
Recommended for all the libraries.
Ani Castillo is a cartoonist, illustrator, and teacher who was born in Guadalajara, Mexico and now lives in Canada.