Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Picture Books -- Day 6

When my son came home from school a couple of weeks ago and told me that he needed a book to give to his class for his birthday, I had no idea the anxiety that would go into deciding which book to give.  A birthday book, apparently, has to be the perfect book -- something the entire class will not just enjoy, but will adore.  So I made suggestions, we looked through our shelves, and after many false starts, he finally found a book to give to his class -- Papagayo by Gerald McDermott.

Papagayo the parrot is noisy and mischievous   He disturbs the night creatures who sleep during the day with all his squawking.  When the "ghost of an ancient monster dog" awakens "beneath the stones of the Great Ruined City," the night creatures are too frightened to stop him from devouring the moon.  Just as things seem hopeless, Papagayo helps his friends find the courage they need to stop the moon-dog.

McDermott's tale is flavored with rich vocabulary:  the parrot's noise is "raucous"; the creatures "venture forth"; the moon-dog "scurrie[s] across the starry fields of the sky."  The vivid pencil and gouache paintings set on white backgrounds show the parrot in eye-popping color during the daytime.  Blue backgrounds for the night scenes subdue the color slightly, while still showing all the glorious variety of the rain forest.  And the moon-dog is just the right amount of scary (which is what finally helped my son come to a decision).

The book must have been a success because the day after his birthday my son jumped in the car and said, "They wanted to read it again!"

by Gerald McDermott
published by Voyager Books (paperback)

1 comment:

  1. What a cool concept to give a book to the class for your birthday!