Saying Goodbye to Tilly and Her Friends
and the Little Yellow House

h1 October 13th, 2009 by jules


“She even CRUNCHED and MUNCHED on the sofa.”
(From Doodle Bites. Click to enlarge spread.)

Regular 7-Imp readers may know of my deep and abiding love for British illustrator Polly Dunbar’s work. There’s been this post and this interview and this post and Penguin (I love that penguin and the blue lion who eats Ben for being too noisy)…and oh-so much more.

You may also remember this Sunday post from February of this year in which we met Tilly and her friends: This is a terrifically charming series of books for the wee’est of toddlers. Not a sticky-sweet kind of charming either. (You know I won’t steer you toward the Sticky Sweet.) And they’re funny. And the characters—Tilly and her friends, Doodle, Tiptoe, Pru, Hector, and Tumpty, who all live together in a little yellow house—will settle themselves quite comfortably into the lives of young children. This I know from experience with my own.


Right. So, I’ve already raved about the books, but this is my post to feature a spread from each of the two new books, Doodle Bites and Good Night, Tiptoe, both released this month by Candlewick. (According to the book site I’m currently looking at, Barnes and Noble, they’re being released today; I swear I don’t plan these things. I seem to be puh-sychic, though. I’ve got a strong Polly-Dunbar radar, I suppose.)

These are laugh outloud funny, and I admit to a bias towards Tiptoe. He’s my favorite character and shines in his own book about refusing to go to sleep. In the opening spread of this post, you see what happens when Doodle wakes up “feeling BITEY!” I just read that this is the end to this Tilly-and-Friends series, which makes me sad, but at least we have these six, perfect little tales for toddlers. I’ve always admired Polly’s Sendak sensibilities, if you will, but in these, she’s channeling Helen Oxenbury somethin’ fierce, while also retaining her pure Polly style.

I’ll miss the gang’s antics, their world of little domestic dramas, but it was fun while it lasted.


“‘It’s time for bed,’ said Hector, snuggling in. Tilly gave Tiptoe a kiss goodnight.
‘I’m not sleepy,’ he said.”

(From Good Night, Tiptoe. Click to enlarge spread.)

* * * * * * *

DOODLE BITES. Copyright © 2009 Polly Dunbar. Reproduced by permission of the publisher, Candlewick Press, Somerville, MA.

GOOD NIGHT, TIPTOE. Copyright © 2009 Polly Dunbar. Reproduced by permission of the publisher, Candlewick Press, Somerville, MA.

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9 comments to “Saying Goodbye to Tilly and Her Friends
and the Little Yellow House”

  1. WHAT?!? No more??? I suppose Polly will just make something else wonderful for us to fall in love with, but still. I need to try one of these books in storytime. I keep forgetting to.


  2. Well, there is one book for each character now, so I bet it is true.

    These would be big story-time winners for the toddler crowd, Adrienne. If you end up using them, let me know how it goes.

    I’m gonna miss Tiptoe and his drums.


  3. I love Tiptoe’s striped pajamas. He reminds me of Harry Horse’s Little Rabbit. Do you know those books? There’s one, which is my favorite, where Little Rabbit goes to his first day of school, gets into mischief, and keeps blaming all the mischief on his little wheeled horse toy.


  4. Yes, I do know those, but I’m not familiar with that particular one. Will have to look for it.


  5. I am in love with the first illustration in this post, Jules — please tell me the name of the lipstick-wearing chicken and the pig on the couch??! Did I miss that somewhere? They are adorable! For some reason, I’ve always had a soft place in my heart for chickens, although not the real ones — the rubber kind and the cartoon versions. I went back and read your wonderful interview with Polly, and also went to her fantastically creative website. I’m now a big fan — thanks!


  6. That’s Pru, Jill! She has her own book called Pretty Pru. She likes to put on lipstick and such. A lot.


  7. I appreciate it when an author knows when to end a series instead of prolonging it. I am incredulous that I haven’t read these books before now, but that’s what SevenImp and other book blogs are for. Doesn’t that make you feel like you’ve done your job? :)


  8. I just love Polly Dunbar’s picture book art. These new books look delightful. Like Alkelda, I haven’t read any of the books in the series either.


  9. I’ve been a fan of Polly Dunbar’s art for a few years now. Sort of old-fashioned (a bit Sendakian, as you say), and yet completely distinctive and original. So charming.


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