CM . . .
. Volume XXII Number 41. . . .June 22, 2016
Edward Built a Rocketship.
Michael Rack. Illustrated by Graham Ross.
London, UK: Hutton Grove (Distributed in Canada by Thomas Allen & Son), 2016.
23 pp., pbk., $12.99.
Preschool-grade 2 / Ages 4-7.
Review by Joanie Proske.
Edward Built a Rocketship is a charming picture book that celebrates the power of imagination through the eyes of a young child. The rhyming text is light and catchy and invites the young reader to join in Edward’s make-believe adventure as he blasts off in a rocketship to visit outer space.
Edward looked into the sky
And said “I think I might
Shoot across the galaxy
At ten o’clock tonight.
“I’ll do a dance on Venus,
And have a snack on Mars
I’ll read a book on Saturn
By the light of all the stars.”
The more he looked, the more he thought,
About his master plan,
“I need to get myself up there
As quickly as I can!”
And how does one build a rocketship? Preschoolers are bound to chuckle as they follow Edward on a rummage through his house and recognize his clever repurposing of everyday objects: a garbage can doubles as the rocket’s engines and an emptied goldfish bowl serves as Edward’s space helmet. Mother, of course, offers Edward her support, gives a kiss goodbye and makes a request to “say hello to Mercury” as Edward begins his countdown blast off to the stars 3...2...1...Kaa-Boom!!!
The make-believe premise of the story suits a very young audience. However, there is a concern that some of the more academic vocabulary used throughout may present a challenge and will require adult explanation, words such a meteor shower, alien, Jupiter, asteroid, satellites, astronauts, launched, and chute. From the copyright details, it would appear that the original version was offered through the self-publishing company, Albury Books in 2007, and recently reissued by Hutton Grove in 2016, with Graham Ross on board as the illustrator. Author Michael Rack does not offer an online presence, but, from Graham Ross’ website, there is mention that another book collaboration is in the works with the two already working on a sequel, Edward Built a Time Machine.
The real strength of this picture book is the captivating illustrations provided by Canadian freelance graphic design artist Graham Ross. Ross has many book projects to his credit, including By A Thread (Canadian Children's Book Centre's “Our Choice Award” 2006) and Alphabetter (selected for the BC Government's "Ready, Set, Learn" Literacy program). Edward Built a Rocketship does not provide information on the process used in creating these stylized images, but the colour palette relies heavily upon the bright primary colours of blue, red and yellow and the use of texture. The story begins with short panels – two or three each page - that gain momentum and burst into several full-page spreads to capture the excitement as Edward becomes fully immersed in his wondrous adventure. The little details Ross incorporates throughout, such as a teddy bear as Edward’s companion, a quirky alien, and an annoyed goldfish, are sure to capture a toddler’s attention and invite plenty of conversation. Edward Built a Rocketship is a delightful visual romp acknowledging the imaginative powers of a young mind.
Joanie Proske is a teacher librarian in the Langley School District, Langley, BC.
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