Books for Keiki
Child imaginings: Naughty bear, surfer and petroglyphs
By Jolie Jean Cotton
|The title character crawls back inside his house in "We're in Big Trouble, Blackboard Bear."
Alexander's newest book perfectly illustrates her point. First published more than 20 years ago, newly re-created with full color art, this 32-page picture book classic employs fewer than 300 words.
The book opens with a series of wordless spreads, in which Anthony's imaginary friend, Blackboard Bear, steps out of the boy's bedroom window in the middle of the night and returns before Anthony awakens.
The neighborhood kids are concerned there might be a monster on the lose, as a pond full of goldfish, a big jar of honey and a garden full of blueberries disappeared overnight. When Blackboard Bear confesses to Anthony that he ate the missing items, together the two come up with a clever way to replace what shouldn't have been eaten.
Alexander's colored pencil and watercolor illustrations, in soothing pastel hues, are as warm and delicate as a hand-stitched quilt.
"Surf's Up For Kimo" by Kerry Germain, Keoni Montes illustrator, Island Paradise Publishing, ages 4-8, $12.95: Kerry Germain's first self-published picture book recently won the Hawai'i Book Publishers Association's Ka Palapala Po'okela Excellence in Children's Books Award.
It's the story of a young boy who longs to surf North Shore waves like his older brothers.
Five-and-a-half-year-old Kimo learns first to become a good swimmer, then he studies the waves to see discover how they break. He imagines himself surfing by day and he dreams of surfing at night. Through patience and persistence, Kimo catches his first wave.
While the story realistically portrays the amount of preparation involved in mastering the sport, the ending falls short, when Kimo rides all the way to shore on the first wave he attempts. The artist, too, occasionally misses his mark. The image of Kimo on the book's cover, for example, portrays the face of a much older person.
Still, young surfer wannabes will no doubt have fun splashing about these pages. Each spread is bordered with paintings of Hawaiian plants, identified in a closing glossary that describes the leaves and some of their uses.
"Ki'i and Li'i: A Story from the Stones" by Jeremiah Ho'oku'u Gruenberg, Goodale Publishing, all ages, $15.95.
The intention of this book is to introduce children to petroglyphs. The author became captivated with the traditional Hawaiian artwork as a child and here he creates gorgeous illustrations that combine authentic Hawaiian petroglyphs with dramatically textured backgrounds.
The striking images are what make this a good book for reading aloud. Even though the accompanying story is contrived, the petroglyphs will magically transport the listener to a long-ago Hawai'i.
The book contains a comprehensive afterword by EdwardStasack, a petroglyph authority.