CM . . .
. Volume XI Number 5 . . . . October 29, 2004
Peg , the plucky heroine from Oppel's Peg and the Whale is back and in fine form. Tiring of the "bright blue sea," this time she sets her sights on Mount Everest.
She wanted big, she wanted better, she wanted best. She figured she'd spent enough time sloshing around at the bottom of the world. Now she wanted to see the top. She wanted to climb the world's tallest mountain. She'd heard the view was quite something.
Exuberant Peg tackles her heroic adventure of tall tale proportions with the same great gusto she used in catching a whale. Undaunted by the warnings of other climbers, windstorms, avalanches and even a lack of gear, this audacious youngster trudges onward and upward. She fearlessly proceeds with only a fishing rod, a back pack, some interesting snacks and a tent. There is no end to Peg's talents! Even the monster at the top,"the yeti," does not frighten her. Only the ingenious Peg (a little ingenuity goes a long way) finds the secret to taming the wild beast. Pork scruncheons seem to do the trick. In no time, her enemy becomes her helpmate who joins her on her journey home and settles in to the life of a fisherman.
The delightful text employs wonderful descriptive vocabulary such as "peckish," "pulverized," "shattered" and is enhanced by the boldly coloured plasticine art work of Barbara Reid. Her incredible talent never disappoints as she brings Kenneth Oppel's exaggerated storytelling to life. Her skillful use of interesting side details, layers that add depth and dimension, interesting perspectives, and amazing facial expressions all help to make her pictures fairly leap off the page. Children will be enchanted by the tactile appeal of these illustrations. Reid's vibrant, robust artwork truly captures the high-spirited Peg with obvious affection and wit.
Her fans can only hope so!
Reesa Cohen is an Instructor of Children's Literature and Information Literacy at the Faculty of Education, University of Manitoba in Winnipeg, MB.
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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.