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Wednesday, June 25, 2014

Paul Meets Bernadette, written and illustrated by Rosy Lamb. Candlewick Press, 2014. $16.00 ages 4 and up

"And then one day Bernadette dropped in. "What are you doing?" Bernadette asks Paul. "I'm going round and round," says Paul. "What else is there to do?" "Haven't you ever noticed that there's a whole world out there? There are so many things to see. Come look over here."

Ah, Paul! He is a fish with few expectations. He has clean water in his fish bowl. He has his daily routines. He seems content. All is well with him.

Then, one day, Bernadette makes her presence known. She encourages him to look beyond the simple life he is leading to discover something magical - the world beyond his fish bowl!

From this new perspective, Paul can see so much more that he has ever noticed. He is enchanted with this new perspective. Bernadette starts with a yellow thing that will look like a banana to little ones reading this book for the first time. She is quick to assure Paul that it is, in fact, a boat. And, so it goes.

There is so much to see! Although those objects she is pointing out to her new friend look quite ordinary to us, Bernadette's descriptions create a brand new world for Paul. His world becomes much fuller. Told with warmth and humor, readers will discover the power of imagination when looking at the world through another's eyes. While the two stay right where they are, their world expands with each new assurance from Bernadette about what they are actually seeing:

"Do you see that round thing off in the distance?
What do you think that is?" asks Bernadette.
"I just can't think," answers Paul.
"That," says Bernadette, "is a cactus!"

Of course, it is not. It is a clock. I can just hear young listeners with each turn of the page, trying to get the real lowdown to Paul. But, Paul is in love and the world is a much better place with Bernadette in it. He is oblivious to anything but her assurances. And, he's happy! Giggles will certainly accompany the sharing of this imaginative, uplifting love story.

Ms. Lamb creates her subtle images in oils, layered and textured to add interest for her audience. The colors chosen match the luminosity of the story itself, and invite close observation and welcome discussion for all who share it. 


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