CM . . . . Volume XVIII Number 40 . . . . June 15, 2012
It is glorious summertime in Manitoba as two young boys and their toddler sister set out for a walk to the “seaside” and their special place, Pirate’s Cove. Carrying paper bags in which to collect sea treasures, they are immersed in the wonders of nature. They cross bridges, dance across fields, paddle at the water’s edge, throw stones into the water and fill those bags with precious sea glass, wishing stones, and skipping stones. Birds singing, dragonflies skimming the water, frogs croaking and the sound of waves at night time make them wish that summer would last forever.The magic of this engaging book lies in its observation of children at play, capturing their all encompassing delight in their adventurous pursuit of enumerable small pleasures. The readers’ senses are fully engaged as they follow the children on this excursion, revelling with them in the sights, sounds and sensations they experience as revealed through lyrical verse and rich illustration. The book conjures up images of unending summers, when time seemed unimportant and childhood seemed to last forever. Readers delight with them as they engage in simple and childlike joys, knowing these moments are the stuff of which memories are made.
A Walk in Pirate’s Cove is both a first collaboration as well as first book for the author and illustrator, but it is obviously a highly effective partnership. Inspired by Marisa Hochman’s observations of her three children at play on the shores of Lake Winnipeg, the story is told in simple, expressive and thoroughly engaging poetry. It has just the right pace, with a gentle peaceful end of day closure. The illustrations in oil, by artist Bette Woodland, are a perfect complement, reflecting the spirit and details of the verse through vividly painted full page and double page spreads. The warm tones, as well as the light and shadow, convey the richness of summer. Vital and glowing with health, the children are depicted with that quality of total concentration of body and mind, unique to childhood. End pages give further details as to the delightful treasures found on their journey.
This beautiful picture book, aimed at all ages from two to adulthood, is a great addition for all libraries and personal collections. A Walk in Pirate’s Cove is a book that children will immerse themselves in for the adventure it represents and that adults will enjoy for the nostalgia it provokes.
Aileen Wortley is a retired librarian living in Toronto, ON.
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