CM . . . . Volume XVIII Number 3 . . . . September 16, 2011
Award-winning songwriter and singer Lennie Gallant brings his talents to a new medium with the publication of this picture book. The text has been adapted for young children from his song of the same name, originally included on his Juno nominated album When We Get There.
With bright bold pictures and just two lines of text per scene, the format is aimed at 3-6-year-olds, but older children and adults will also appreciate the nostalgia the book evokes. Set on the beaches of Prince Edward Island, the text and rich illustrations conjure up the sensation of seemingly infinite summer days at any oceanís edge. All five senses are engaged as the story highlights scenes of endless sand and sun. The impression of cool water and the contrasting heat of the beach, the creation of sand castles, the sound of waves and bird cries, the enjoyment of campfires and family picnics all come vividly to life.
The illustrations by award-winning artist Patsy MacKinnon are an attractive complement to the text. The scenes, vividly painted across two page spreads, depict an idyllic family as they focus on shared enterprises in happy companionship. They enjoy the rich golden yellow of sands touched with the red of P.E.I., the extreme blues of ocean water and the silver light cast by the moon. The suntanned children depicted close-up in stylized images or more distant views reflect health, harmony, vigor and a sense of total repletion.
The overall feeling is warm and satisfying. However, the rhythm of the text, great in the song, does not always translate well for reading aloud, and the wistful sentiment of the refrain seems removed from the characters shown. The inclusion of the lyrics and music as an addendum would provide clarification here and could give an alternate way of using the book either one or one or in a group setting.
Despite these points, the book is a joyful representation of a wonderful fun-filled family day, one with which children will identify. A Day With You in Paradise would be a good addition to any library bookshelf, useful for programming and a gratifying story to share with an individual child.
Mark Aileen Wortley, a retired librarian, lives in Toronto, ON.
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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.