Simon Van Booy
32 Pages Ages: 4 to 8
Inside Jacket: Pobble’s evening walk with Daddy is a magical adventure in which branches wear sleeves of snow and mushrooms become frog umbrellas. When Pobble’s mitten—small and pink and as soft as a bunny’s chin—is lost on the path, woodland animals gather to discuss what the mysterious pink object cold be.
Every day, after dinner, Pobble and her daddy take a walk through the woods near their home. They play a special game where they name the objects they find while walking. A leaf floating on a pond is a “butterfly raft” and “chubby winter mushrooms” become frog umbrellas. As the two continued to walk a “small, and pink and soft as a bunny’s chin” mitten fell to the ground.
A squirrel approached, sniffed and said,
“Why it’s cotton candy! I’d know that fluffiness anywhere.”
A little Mouse scampered over and said,
Then Duck interrupted.
The imagination in Pobble’s Way is sure to become contagious with your children after they read or hear this story. Each animal continues the game Pobble and her Daddy started, ending when a wise animal approaches and tells the other animals, the pink object is a mitten. I wonder, are the animals having fun, like Pobble and her daddy, or do they seriously believe what they are saying?
The illustrations are the most realistic I have seen all year. The little girl’s exuberant face shines through out the pages. “Daddy,” to me, looks like a brother or a teen parent. In the first spread, Daddy has a cherubic profile that makes him look like a teenager. In the final face-forward illustration of daddy—with Pobble on his shoulders—dad finally looks old enough to be daddy.
“The illustrations were rendered in layers of transparent watercolor glaze” I have no idea what this means, but for those of you interested in picture book illustration, that was how Pobble’s Way was illustrated. I like the realistically rustic illustrations, especially the second spread-left. The two are standing next to a frozen pond, perfectly reflected. Above the pond are the feet and mid-calves of Pobble and Dad in bright colors, standing on top of the upside-down reflected feet of each in paler, somewhat wavier selves.
I like this book. I like the imaginative animals and all the things this one soft, pink mitten became for each. But, the illustrations are too realistic to transform any magic to the animal’s observations. A carrot holder remains a mitten with carrots inside of it. A fin warmer is the pink mitten, not a fin warmer. There needs to be magic in the observations. Why? Because, the story is just a stroll in the park—not a story.
In one respect, it is a shame the animals learned the true use of the pink object. I like the imaginative ideas and would have like to hear more. But then I can, and so can you and your child. That is the power of imagination. We can hold off the reveal just a few animals longer.
A chipmunk decides the pink object is a place to keep fruits from bruising or nuts from squirrels. A cat would hold all the treasures he “finds.” A dog would say to store his bones. I would use it to hold my loose change (is there such a thing as unloose change?)
Eventually, the ending must arrive—as all stories do—and the animal who knows the true use of the pink object would come forth and let the others know. Have heart, that will not be the end. The next night, at bedtime, the pink, soft, and warm mitten will be lost again
Author: Simon Van Booy website Illustrator: Wendy Edelson website blog Publisher: Flashlight Press website Release Date: 2010 ISBN: 978-097-9974-66-3 Number of Pages: 32 Ages: 4 to 8
Copyright ©2010 by Flashlight Press, used with permission.
Text: Copyright ©2010 by Simon Van Booy
Illustrations: Copyright ©2010 by Wendy Edelson