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Canadian Children's  Book Centre
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Augustine

From packing her bags, to the airplane ride, to a new home with its “icicle chandelier and hard ice floor”, Augustine bravely faces her family’s big move from the South Pole to the North Pole. But trying to make friends at her new school is another matter, especially since her penguin accent is so different from the other animals’. Luckily for Augustine, her artistic talent attracts her schoolmates who help her overcome her shyness. With an upcoming art show and new friends, Augustine’s life in the North Pole doesn’t look too chilly.

Beautifully designed, Mélanie Watt’s Augustine is an absolutely wonderful picture book. By adopting a penguin’s point of view, this classic story of a family’s move becomes original and witty. Watt uses cold-weather colloquialisms to add intelligent humour with phrases like, “In my bedroom, I gather all my toys. My mom says it’s just the tip of the iceberg.”

The illustrations, done in acrylic and pencil crayon, sparkle with the same clever humor. Each of Augustine’s drawings are “penguinized” parodic references to famous masterpieces of over 14 artists, including Mondrian, Renoir, van Gogh, Magritte, da Vinci and Warhol.

Augustine is sure to delight parents who are familiar with these well-known artworks and children will relish its simple story, endearing character and bright pages. Best of all, this picture book’s depth will foster many conversations and inspire that most meaningful, dynamic relationship between book, adult and child.

Source: The Canadian Children's Bookcentre. Fall 2006. Vol.29 No. 4.

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