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Book Review: Peter and Pepe the Puffin and the Mystery of the Dollar Bill

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Peter and Pepe the Puffin and the Mystery of the Dollar Bill

This book review was written and published by The Children’s Book Review.

Written by Leesa K. Donner

Illustrated by Laura K. Gabel

Ages 4-8 | 44 Pages

Publisher: One Generation Away

ISBN: 13: 9798719998190

What to Expect: Understanding Money, American History, Autism

By depicting and celebrating a character on the autism spectrum and validating his way of seeing the world, Peter and Pepe the Puffin and the Mystery of the Dollar Bill offers a positive and empowering role model for all children, as well as an illuminating history lesson about money and the foundations of the United States.

The world can be a very confusing place for Peter. So many things are not what they look like on the surface. A dollar bill he finds on the ground, for example, is full of meaning, even though it looks like nothing more than a dirty piece of paper. Luckily, Peter has Pepe the Puffin to help him make sense of things. Pepe teaches Peter all about the words, symbols, and numbers on the dollar bill, helping him understand what the dollar stands for and why. From the pyramid and eye to the thirteen arrows, Pepe patiently explains how the ideals and values of the United States helped shape the symbolism that makes a dollar a dollar.

The wacky, collage-like illustrations invite readers to recognize the silly as well as serious aspects of history and echo the surreal and symbolic nature of the subject matter.

Unless you have a child on the autism spectrum, it can be difficult to understand just how confusing the world can be to someone who understands things like language and imagery literally. Peter and Pepe the Puffin and the Mystery of the Dollar Bill offers a lovely introduction to both autism and history.

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About the Author and Illustrator

Leesa and Laura quote their brother who once observed, “I have two sisters – one paints with a brush and the other paints with words.” Growing up in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, Leesa learned about the magic of books by listening to Laura read to her every night before bed. Their favorites included Mother Goose Nursery Rhymes and Dr. Seuss’s Green Eggs and Ham.

Only later in life were the two able to put their gifts of writing and illustration together. To pass along the joy of reading to a new generation, they teamed up to write Peter & Pepe and the Mystery of the Dollar Bill. Through poetry and artistic creativity, they hope to spark the imaginations of children that will lead to a lifetime love of reading.

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