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David Day
Illustrated by Warabe Aska
Toronto, Doubleday Canada, 1991. 32pp, cloth, $18.00
ISBN 0-385-25315-X. CIP

Kindergarten and up/Ages 5 and up

Reviewed by Brenda Partridge

Volume 20 Number 2
1992 March

Warabe Aska and David Day have combined their brilliant illustration and poetry to produce an outstanding picture-book fantasy of the origin of animals from the jungle, desert, grass­land and forest. Readers of all ages become enchanted with the imagination and talent used in the creation of wild horses, fleet-footed deer, camouflaged tigers and majestic polar bears.

Aska's fourteen paintings stimulate the viewer to fantasize and predict the beginnings of each creature, while Day's verse suggests the reasons for the creation:

The first polar bears were light as
In bright flumes, they fell glittering
from the sky
Onto mountain tops, where they
gathered and grew.

Then, huge and unstoppable as an
They roared down the mountains,
and toppled into the sea.

The book has universal appeal. Illustrations and rich vocabulary, capable of standing on their own, complement each other to produce a powerful effect in the minds of the reader/viewer. Doubleday refers to Aska as a "master of disguise and metamorphosis" who uses a "combina­tion of brilliantly clear hues and subtle gradations."

David Day, a native of Victoria, British Columbia, has written a number of books about fantasy and myth, including A Tolkien Bestiary (London, M. Beazley, 1979; Harbour Publications, 1984), The Swan Children, The Sleeper, and the award-winning Emperor's Panda (short-listed for the Governor General's award).

Warabe Aska, originally from Japan, has published three books since coming to Canada - Who Goes to the Park? (Tundra Books, 1984), Who Hides in the Park? and most recently Seasons (Doubleday Canada, 1990), which won a Studio Magazine award and was short-­listed for the Governor General's award.

Aska's Animals belongs in every picture-book collection!

Highly recommended.

Brenda Partridge, Percy Centennial Public School, Warkworth, Ont.
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