Monday, March 27, 2006

Reader's Diary #62- Al Pittman (author)/ Veselina Tomova (illustrator): On A Wing and A Wish

On A Wing and A Wish was Al Pittman's third and final children's book (the previous being One Wonderful Fine Day For A Sculpin Named Sam and of course, Down By Jim Long's Stage). As far as I'm concerned On A Wing and A Wish was also his best.

Like Down By Jim Long's Stage which revolved around various Newfoundland fish, the poems in this collection revolve around Newfoundland sea birds. They are delightful humour-filled poems, with enough Mother Goose rhymes (AABA, etc), couplets, and alliteration to keep any child's attention- I know, I know, go to a child and say "this book is filled with wonderful couplets!" and she's likely to beat you with it, but the rhythm and rhyme will hold their attention, trust me. There's also enough wit and subtle jabs at human folly to make the book entertaining for adults.

Veselina Tomova's illustrations are also outstanding. The bold watercolours, like the poems themselves, personify the sea birds, often making them ludicrous and always making them appealing.

At the end of the book, there's a glossary of sorts that gives the globally accepted names of the birds versus the local names which were used in the poems. A"turr", for instance, is an Atlantic common murre.

While I know that informational books have their place and value, books such as On A Wing and A Wish make learning about Newfoundland culture and its wildlife fun and meaningful. We need more of these.

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