Tuesday, August 29, 2006

Review: Augustine

Look at this beautiful cover! It's almost a review in and of itself.


Augustine, as you can tell from the cover, is an adorable penguin with a big problem. She has to move from the South Pole to the North because Dad has a new job. *

Augustine, named after Pierre-Auguste Renoir, is sad about leaving her school, her room, her friends, and her family. Most tragic is leaving grandma and grandpa.

A new home means a new school. Augustine tries to hide, but to no avail. Mom finds her and sends her packing. Augustine worries about her accent and fitting in. Fortunately she has her stuffed penguin, Picasso, with her and at recess they entertain each other:

  • "I sit by myself in a corner of the playground. I'm glad I brought Picasso to keep me company. I draw pictures with my blue colored pencil. I think I will call this my 'Blue Recess Period.' Picasso agrees.

Augustine's art draws the other children to her and inspires her teacher to put on an art show.

Mélanie Watt's Augustine is a great book for kids scared of a move, but it's more than that as well. Watt expertly introduces the art of Renoir, Mondrian, Picasso, Dali, Munch, da Vinci, Matisse, and Magritte (among others) into the clever, color-infused illustrations. Augustine would be a great read-aloud after an art lesson. Ask the kids if they can spot The Scream or the Mona Lisa (in penguin-crayoned variants) in the illustrations.

New from Kids Can Press, Mélanie Watt's charming Augustine is one of my favorite picture books of 2006.


* (My 5 year old had a bit of a problem with this detail. "Penguins don't live at the North Pole, mom!")