Pic­tures aplenty in sum­mer kids’ books

Winnipeg Free Press - Section G - - BOOKS - By He­len Nor­rie

PIC­TURE books come in many forms: hu­mor­ous, ed­u­ca­tional, beau­ti­ful or quirky. Here are a few that will brighten up sum­mer days for youngest read­ers: Be­gin­ning read­ers (ages 5-8) who like to face chal­lenges will en­joy Peach Girl by Van­cou­ver au­thor Ray­mond Naka­mura (Pa­jama Press, 32 pages, $20, hard­cover). Based on a Ja­panese story, Naka­mura’s hero­ine, Momoko, is feisty and fear­less. When Momoko hops out of a gi­ant peach, vow­ing to make the world a bet­ter place, she finds ev­ery­one is pet­ri­fied of an ogre who is said to eat small chil­dren. Armed with a peach­pit hel­met and shield, Momoko ig­nores their warn­ings. She en­lists the help of a mon­key, a dog and a pheas­ant and con­fronts the ogre, who turns out to be not so scary af­ter all. Young book lovers will find Naka­mura’s prose easy to read with plenty of hu­mour. With a ca­reer of de­sign­ing ed­u­ca­tional ex­pe­ri­ences for chil­dren in the Van­cou­ver area, he has cre­ated an in­spir­ing young pro­tag­o­nist, who proves that ne­go­ti­a­tion is of­ten prefer­able to con­fronta­tion. This quick-wit­ted, as­sertive girl will ap­peal to many. The full-page il­lus­tra­tions by Burling­ton, Ont. artist Re­becca Ben­der are strik­ing and ex­pres­sive, re­flect­ing her back­ground as a graphic de­signer and art di­rec­tor. She is a for­mer award-win­ner whose first two pic­ture books, Gi­raffe and Bird and Don’t Laugh at Gi­raffe, won high praise. Any­one who has ad­mired the paint­ings of West Coast artist Emily Carr will en­joy When Emily Carr Met Woo by for­mer Van­cou­ver (now Toronto) au­thor Mon­ica Kulling (Pa­jama Press, 32 pages, $20, hard­cover). Woo was the mis­chievous mon­key Emily adopted along with sev­eral other pets at her home in Vic­to­ria. Kulling man­ages to tell Emily’s story as well as that of her cher­ished an­i­mals in this at­trac­tive in­tro­duc­tion for young chil­dren to this fa­mous artist. Dean Wil­liams, who makes his home in Dun­can, B.C., has added large and colourful il­lus­tra­tions that make the book more ap­peal­ing. Have you ever wanted to drive a race car? Or fly an air­plane? Those are just two of the am­bi­tions ex­plored in Go­ing Places, a pic­ture book by iden­ti­cal twins Peter and Paul Reynolds (Atheneum Books/Si­mon and Schus­ter, 40 pages, $18, hard­cover). When Maya gets a do-it-yourself kit at school to en­ter the “Go­ing Places” con­test, she’s the only one who thinks out­side the box. Does it have to be a go-cart? Why not an air­plane? Af­ter she teams up with her neigh­bour, Raphael, she proves that in­no­va­tion can take you to new heights. Peter is an il­lus­tra­tor for the New York Times; his art­work is quirky but ap­pro­pri­ate. With his brother, Paul, they op­er­ate a book­store called Blue Bunny Books in Ded­ham, Mass. A film­maker try­ing to make a na­ture doc­u­men­tary on a moose en­coun­ters strange op­po­si­tion in This is a Moose by New Jersey au­thor Richard T. Mor­ris (Lit­tle, Brown, 32 pages, $20, hard­cover). This book is for kids who love crazy com­edy and silly sit­u­a­tions. As the di­rec­tor tries to film a moose, his sub­ject teams up with a gi­raffe who wants to be a doc­tor and a pad­dling grand­mother to ex­plore the moose’s real am­bi­tion: to be an as­tro­naut. It takes sev­eral un­suc­cess­ful takes be­fore the di­rec­tor re­al­izes that film­ing a moose as an as­tro­naut might be a ter­rific idea. Pic­tures by Tom Licht­en­held are suit­ably un­con­ven­tional. A glos­sary of film­mak­ing terms is also in­cluded. For ages 4-8. He­len Nor­rie is a for­mer teacher/li­brar­ian with a spe­cial fond­ness for chil­dren’s

lit­er­a­ture.

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