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The Perfect Percival Priggs carries an important message for all

percival priggsThe Perfect Percival Priggs, by Julie-Anne Graham (May 2015, Running Press Kids), $16.95, ISBN: 9780762458950

Recommended for ages 5-8

Percival Priggs is perfect. His family is perfect. His pets are perfect. The thing is, Percy is feeling a lot of pressure to be perfect, and he doesn’t even like the things he’s perfect at. He tries to rush through his preparations for upcoming competitions, and a bit of a kerfuffle ensues. And that’s when Percy’s parents tell him that it’s okay not to be perfect; and heck, if you don’t like what you’re doing, do something you love!

This is a huge message for a children’s book, especially with our kids feeling more pressure to perform than ever. Kindergarten isn’t kindergarten anymore; standardized testing is sending kids to third grade with ulcers; and overscheduled kids are feeling the pressure to be perfect. This book lets kids know it’s okay to just breathe, to just be, and to find what you love and DO IT.

I love the art – it’s kind of Tim Burton-goth, with the characters all wearing huge black glasses and sporting giant pale heads. The mixed media art adds some great texture to the spreads, and the characters themselves are so interesting to look at: Mom’s dress is a crossword puzzle; Dad’s suit is black and white striped. Percy’s got a black suit with black pinstripes. There’s great motion across spreads, and there’s such affection in some of the pictures, like a tender hug between Percy and his mom, that kids will enjoy.

Younger kids may not grasp the valuable message in this book – my toddler didn’t, but that’s okay. I’ll read it to him nonstop and let him know that he’s perfect, the way he is. Once my Fall preschool classes start up again, this will be on the storytime rotation.

Parents, PLEASE read this book to your kids, and take the message to heart, yourselves. This is a very sweet book that packs a big punch when you sit down and read it. Enjoy it, and hug your kids while you read it.



I'm a mom, a children's librarian, bibliophile, and obsessive knitter. I'm a pop culture junkie and a proud nerd, and favorite reads usually fall into Sci-Fi/Fantasy. I review comics and graphic novels at WhatchaReading ( I'm also the co-founder of On Wednesdays We Wear Capes (, where I discuss pop culture and geek fandom from a female point of view.

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