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Saturday, January 22, 2011

Roslyn Rutabaga, written and illustrated by Marie-Louise Gay. Groundwood, 2010. $18.95 ages 2 and up

"Roslyn looked around for the
perfect spot to dig the Biggest Hole
on Earth. Not too rocky. Not too
near the oak tree. Definitely not in
her father's prize-winning carrot
bed! Aha! thought Roslyn. Right
here in the middle of the lawn."

As she stands firmly rooted in the hole that she imagines to be the 'biggest hole on earth', Roslyn reveals her dreamy determination. The plan has been with her since she first opened her eyes and she is bent on making it happen. It must be the biggest!

Down the stairs she goes to share her plan with her proud, imperturbable father. He suggests that she dress warmly. She thinks hard about the positioning of the hole, and then gets to work. It isn't long until a worm has something to say about the task at hand. Not wanting to cause a stir, Roslyn fills the hole and finds another spot. Seems it's a mole's bedroom. She explains that a visit with a penguin is the impetus for the digging. The mole tries hard to dissuade her, offering advice she is not too keen to hear. On she goes!

Feeling discouraged she lies down in the freshly dug hole, and considers a change in plans. It is just at the moment that Dad finds her hidey-hole and wonders aloud at the progress she has made. He must look very closely to see her; she's almost invisible. An offer of lunch cannot be ignored; Roslyn reminds her father to bring his sweater. It's cold at the South Pole!

Marie-Louise Gay has always been able to create that 'every child' who looks at the world with wonder and wide-eyed exuberance. From Stella and Sam to Caramba and now Roslyn, she gives us endearing and totally believable characters to love. Using earthy tones and mixed media, her textured artwork will attract and hold her readers' attention as they explore the humorous and detailed pages. I love the changing perspectives. There are so many surprises to be found! Did you notice her winged stuffed pig, and the precarious positioning of the lilac bush? Like Roslyn, we learn that you don't have to go to the South Pole to find fun and adventure.

Roslyn rocks, and I have my fingers crossed that it won't be long until we meet again!

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