GOBUMPIN

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The tiny White knight Gobumpin and his “peewee pony,” Poppy-Pop-Pop-Popper (called Poppy), aren’t sure about their purpose in life. Everyone loves them, including nonbinary ruler Quing-Ling-Bing-Bing-Bing. But Gobumpin believes he must have a greater mission. “I feel like something is missing,” he tells Poppy. “What else can I do?” Though he ignores a mouse who may have helpful advice, an escapade takes Gobumpin beyond the castle walls, where Goosey Gabblegeeble repeats a refrain from the villagers: “Gobumpin, Gobumpin, Gobumpin the Knight!” Later, the knight realizes he “can go BUMP in the night.” In modern times, a child scared of a nighttime noise is told a story—presumably about Gobumpin—to allay any fears. While a few hooks, such as the mouse’s thoughts, are left hanging, the concept of a small knight and a cast of characters with absurdly long names makes for a fun fantasy tale that may hold kids’ nocturnal worries at bay. Ross’ ideas dabble in the silly (the cobbler makes cream-cheese horseshoes for Poppy so she won’t wake the peacocks) without losing the story’s thread. Independent readers will find invented words and challenging dictionary vocabulary (travertine, frites-fryer), and younger ones can echo the repeated phrases. Fang’s vivid, soft-edged cartoon illustrations deftly capture the action and wackiness in the diverse kingdom.

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