June 22, 2018

The Advocate's Toolbox

Pick of the Day: Paul Meets Bernadette

Get the latest SLJ reviews every month, subscribe today and save up to 35%.

Paul Meets BernadetteLamb, Rosy. Paul Meets Bernadette. illus. by author. 40p. Candlewick. 2013. RTE $14. ISBN 9780763661304. LC 2012947712.
PreS-Gr 2–Paul, a solitary goldfish, spends his days swimming in circles. His life is uneventful until another fish, Bernadette, drops into his bowl. Not content to simply go round and round, she encourages Paul to take a look at the world outside their watery home. She shows him ordinary household items, which when viewed through the curved glass bowl and through the power of her imagination, become transformed. A bunch of bananas turn into a yellow boat and a vase of flowers is an enchanting forest. Some of Bernadette’s creative interpretations will make young readers giggle, especially when a blue teapot becomes an elephant and two fried eggs are the sun and the moon. As he eagerly examines the fascinating world outside, Paul becomes equally captivated with his new friend. The whimsical story is accompanied by striking oil paintings. The two fish are portrayed in fluid orange and gold brushstrokes, while the bowl is a luminous sphere reflecting different colors from page to page. One of the final spreads depicts a homey breakfast table holding all of the everyday objects bestowed with magical qualities through the eyes of the fanciful goldfish. Pair this story with Devin Scillian’s Memoirs of a Goldfish (Sleeping Bear, 2010).–Linda L. Walkins, Saint Joseph Preparatory High School, Boston, MA