Megan Tingley Bks/Little, Brown/. Sept. 2019. 48p. Tr $17.99. ISBN 9780316424646; ebk. ISBN 9780316454452.
Gr 1-3–A small roundish figure dressed in red sends a ping pong ball across the white expanse of the page. “My friend, in this life.../…we can only PING.” After turning the page, readers see the other side of the table, and a lanky figure dressed in aqua who enthusiastically returns the ball while the text explains that, “The PONG belongs to the other./You Ping./They Pong.” With the red-clad figure as a guide, children learn that whatever they put out into the world is a Ping (a smile, a song, a gesture), but it helps to remember that they can’t control what comes back, only what is put out. The text extols readers to Ping in myriad ways, from bravely to wisely to joyfully, and to prepare themselves to receive the Pong and carefully listen and consider what it is coming back to them. Is it something to learn, or be thankful for? Something to let go of or to keep? Whatever the message received, readers should take the time they need and carefully consider what they put out into the world. The flat, textural watercolor figures are charming, with just the right amount of detail to spark curiosity without muddling the message.
VERDICT A clever reminder about what we can control in life, and what we cannot, and a worthy addition to large collections.

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