CM . . . . Volume XVI Number 5. . . .October 2, 2009.
Paulina P. (for Petersen).
Vancouver, BC: Simply Read Books, 2009.
32 pp., hardcover, $18.95.
Preschool-grade 2 / Ages 3-7.
Review by Reesa Cohen.
Paulin P. (for Petersen)
Loves the letter P. indeerderson.
If a thing starts with a P.
Paulina loves it instantly
Pencils, pennies, pajamas, popsicles, poetry are just a few of the many things that Paulina loves and all because they start with her special, favourite letter. There are so many items that are deserving of her adoration. But objects or ideas that don’t start with P result in a sneer from Paulina and a comment that ... yes, you guessed it ... starts with P, like, preposterous and perplexing. Even during playtime, Paulina embodies people, place and items that start with P, from pirates, and plankton to a pharmacist.
Of course, Paulina’s pharmacy has a variety of P medicines to make everyone feel better. Her best friend, Penny Lee, joins in the fun as they list activities that they enjoy, although Penny’s love of “hearts” is a fact that Paulina just can’t understand.
Paulina’s becoming a painter when she grows up is not a surprise, but her art and math teachers are frustrated with her preoccupation with the letter P.
Why can’t people plainly see
the beauty of the letter P?!
It’s an outrage! It’s a shame!
Why can’t we be more the same.
After dreams that turn into nightmares, Paulina does acknowledge that differences can suit us “perfectly,” but she remains true to her first love ... the letter P!
Cinar’s technique of choosing many words with the same letter to tell a tale is not new to children’s literature and has been used effectively by other writers more successfully, such as Margaret Atwood in her alliterative romp, Princess Prunella and the Purple Peanut. However, there is no doubt that young readers will probably enjoy the word plays in Paulina P. (for Petersen), and teachers and parents will love the opportunities for vocabulary enrichment.
Simple illustrations, using mixed media and collage art, highlight the rhythmic text which begs to be read-aloud. Cartoon-type drawings, with some of the text in balloons and every P colorfully highlighted, add to the fun. So be prepared to be peppered and provoked if you prefer all things P!
Reesa Cohen is a retired Instructor of Children’s Literature and Information Literacy at the Faculty of Education, University of Manitoba in Winnipeg, MB.
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