CM . . .
. Volume VIII Number 8 . . . . December 14, 2001
Vlasta Van Kampen's tale, A Drop of Gold, describes Mother Nature's desire to make all the birds as beautiful and colourful as the rest of the new world. She instructs her monkey friends to paint the white birds with stripes, specks and spots, making each one unique in appearance. Birds of all types receive new "feathers, feet, beaks, masks, combs and colour," and celebrate in delight. One bird, however, arrives late and is unable to receive the colourful feathers for which she longs. Together the monkeys and birds find a solution that leaves the small bird plain in appearance but blessed with a golden voice.
A Drop of Gold is a simple yet satisfying story. The plot develops quickly, and Van Kampen uses some interesting vocabulary (eg. bill and comb). While the story is well-told, it is Van Kampen's illustrations which really captivate the reader. Her watercolour paintings are filled with vivid colours, movement and expression. They contain a great flock of birds, including a toucan, parrot, blue jay owl and penguin.
Overall, A Drop of Gold would be a great addition to library and classroom collections focusing on appreciating differences. A straightforward story with a positive message, it was the only book out of a pile of seven that my four-year-old son requested to be read twice.
Lisa Sykes has worked as an early years teacher and teacher-librarian. She is currently at home in Winnipeg, MB, enjoying her time with her two young children.
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Copyright © the Manitoba Library Association. Reproduction for personal use is permitted only if this copyright notice is maintained. Any other reproduction is prohibited without permission.