Inspiring Young Readers

posted on 02 Jan 2024

Poppy the Pea by Dr Fuzz

A pea as protagonist has some history in children’s books and I am a particular fan of the traditional fairy tale of ‘The Princess and the Pea’ as a clever way to warn against over sensitivity. I recently reviewed a very funny take on the same story from the perspective of the pea, so could this attractively packaged gift pocket-book give me another valuable poetic angle on the vegetable?  

Poppy is a pea living ‘in freezy degrees’ with her mates. She is worthy of note because she is filled with fears and dreams about her future, much like any other conscious being. She is filled with dread about what might be her fate and prefers to stay in the familiar darkness ‘dreaming in comfort, keeping well out of sight’. On the other hand, she has an optimistic streak where she imagines a life of freedom inspired by Percy the Great, a bold, pioneering pea whose legendary escape from a plate has dazzled her. 

As the story rapidly unfolds, we share her trepidation as the moment of truth draws closer and her comfortable environment changes forever:

‘From dark freezer to pan, from hot pan to bright plate!’ 

Her fellow peas seem to positively embrace their fate as they sing together about their new  dream of living in a warm, cosy tummy. They do not want to take unnecessary risks and encourage her to embrace her fears and be positive about her new future. But she knows that the easy way is not always the best, after all, she is an individual like Percy the Great and needs to assert herself if she is to live a fulfilling life beyond the freezer.

Chapters Three and Four shows us how, despite quite a few unnerving challenges along the way, she manages to roll forward to unknown adventures:

‘I’m a pea from a pan but a pea with a plan.’

She learns that she still might need the help of others to achieve her dreams and is helped by Jane ‘a small smiley spider’. By the final chapter, she is confident to continue her exciting journey:

‘Beautifully bold, finally free’       

I recommend this unusual little book with charming illustrations which has some big messages about taking risks, facing fear, valuing friendship, developing confidence and making decisions which could inspire some interesting discussion with children. It could also be a gift for adults who are inclined to prevaricate or who lack self- confidence. The author’s British/Iranian background is significant because he explains that he found life very difficult when he first arrived at the age of five. He continued to experience mental health problems as a teenager and is consequently a strong an advocate for ‘practising self-awareness, self-acceptance and self- compassion’.  

Published by Fuzz Books, it can be ordered from your local independent bookshop or is available direct from

Karen Argent 

January 2024