Paul Meets Bernadette
The artwork from newcomer Rosy Lamb is the main attraction in this story of a solo fish who finds love.
Saturated oil paintings capture Paul the goldfish's gloom as he goes around in circles in his fish bowl--big and small circles, to the left and to the right, from top to bottom and bottom to top. The dominant colors are gray, and Paul's movements listless. Once Bernadette enters the fish bowl, however, the colors lighten up. Paul and Bernadette make eye contact, and they investigate the sights outside their bowl together. The paintings become a graceful dance between the pair, as breakfast-bright colors and well-synchronized choreography convey Paul and Bernadette's enjoyment of each other.
Children will enjoy knowing more than Bernadette does, as she introduces Paul--in a series of paintings that show the views outside their fishbowl--to a boat (it's a banana), a "forest with trees of every color" (a floral bouquet) and funniest of all, an elephant feeding her babies (a teapot filling teacups). Some connections make more sense than others (a clock mistaken for a cactus may raise readers' eyebrows), but the bond between Paul and Bernadette is never in doubt. This may well be as popular as a Valentine gift between grownups as it will be a guessing game for young readers. --Jennifer M. Brown, children's editor, Shelf Awareness