On the Go.
Roger Paré with Bertrand Gauthier.
Preschool - grade 4 / Ages 4 - 9.
"Where shall we go?"
Georgia asked Gigi.
"To Paris? To London?
To Whitehorse or Fiji?
Shall we rollerskate
Or fly a plane?
Shall we sail a boat?
Or take the train?...
THIS ENGLISH TRANSLATION of award-winning illustrator Roger Paré's Plaisirs de vacances is the story of two mice travelling the world (and beyond). Sometimes they fly on their cat, sometimes they use a balloon, sometimes they use ropes to climb a mountain.
The format is constant: one four-line page of text facing a full-page illustration. Paré is quoted on the jacket copy as saying "When the illustration is explicit enough, what writing I have to add is little in terms of quantity," and the book is consistent with this philosophy.
The somewhat cartoonish illustrations are great fun, and accessible and usually crowded with the interesting details that fascinate pre-readers.When Georgia and Gigi are in the jungle, for example, they pose the animals for a picture; there is not only a crowd of monkeys, tigers, elephants, and so on mugging in front of the camera, but a caricatured butterfly watching the procedure from behind.
But the text is a let down. Keeping to a brief, four-line verse on a page allows for an extremely readable typeface, but not much detail -- something that may disappoint older children fascinated with the premise. How do they get to all those places, for example? Sometimes the illustrations tell you; more often they don't.
Moreover (though this may be the fault of the English translation), at times the A-B-C-B rhyme-scheme is so rough you wonder why they bothered. For example:
Then into the jungleIn all, a pleasant but unspectacular addition to a picture-book collection; the modest paperback price makes it more attractive.
For a souvenir-photo
Of their many new friends,
Including Miss Hippo.
Diane Fitzgerald is an elementary-school teacher in Saskatoon.
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Copyright © 1996 the Manitoba Library Association.
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