April 9, 2016
Candace Hardy (22 articles)
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April Showers (or snowfall) bring more Library time

We are slightly snowed in on this sunny Saturday, April 9th. But I am cheered by the opportunity to review a new book from Guardian Angel’s author Barbara Bockman. Let me back up briefly. About a week ago, I had a conversation with the grandmother of a 5 year old. She was searching her local library, to little avail, for books that were well written and had illustrations that were worthy of looking over with more than a cursory glance. Into the first paragraph of Han and the Mysterious Pearl By Barbara Bockman, Carl Kocich (Illustrations) I knew I had found such a book.

Barbara Bockman does a supurb job of retelling this ancient legend. At the end of a fishing day with his cormorant, Han notices a glow from one of the cavern across the river. Inside,  Han encounters an old man sleeping beside a mysterious pearl,for which he is filled with desire. When he takes the pearl from the sleeping man’s hand, even the wind murmurs, “return the pearl…return the pearl.” As he poles his small raft toward home, the waves, wind and rain all chant to him, “Return the pearl…return the pearl.”

As he approaches his home, of course he is excited to share all the riches his new treasure will afford their meager lifestyle and lies to his mother to hide the fact that he has stolen the pearl. At his mother’s insistence he moves to return the pearl, battling the raging storm in his small boat. Little by little the storm whips away at the little boat until Han is forced to battle the wind and waves, swimming to shore, his corcormant all the while flying overhead, squawking encouragement.

I was struck by the wonderful pacing and the engaging language in this crossover picture storybook appropriate for 7-adult. An amazing “read to me” the the Mewly Reading kittens and strong reader for Mama Cat to share.

A word about the spectacular illustrations. Such great detail from the “Asian type” script to the illuminated borders, Carl Kocich has gifted us with inspired illustrations not commonly found anymore. His beautifully crafted acrylic art, with such attention to detail, further enhances this wonderful read.

Five catnips!

Candace Hardy