Thursday, July 29, 2010

30th July Peter Gouldthorpe (1954) Marcus Pfister (1960) Anna Pignataro (1965) Jane Cabrera (1968)

As four is a lot to write about at once, I wrote about the Australians Peter Gouldthorpe and Anna Pignataro yesterday and will write about the other two now.

Marcus Pfister is the Swiss author of the very well-known Rainbow Fish series of books. The first of these was translated from German into English in 1992 and has been popular ever since. His books are illustrated in beautiful watercolours and his books always seem to favour blue. They explore themes such as sharing, co-operation, courage, dependability, independent thinking and acting responsibly all of which are highly relevant to the classroom and young children. As well as the Rainbow Fish there are other series, one about a small penguin, Penguin Pete, another about a white hare named Hopper and the two books about Milo, a small mouse. The Milo books are unique in their format, having two possible endings, a happy one and a sad one. The Rainbow Fish and Milo books were among the first books to have 'foil' (silver and gold) in their illustrations and while this certainly attracted children, the books would still standout as good stories without this 'gimmick'. Pfister has said, "For me, there is one major criterion in determining the value of a book: if it brings adults and children together and makes them interact intensely, then it has achieved its purpose. A good book acts as a bridge between a child and an adult, sparking lots of questions, and expanding the imagination of the child."

Jane Cabrera is an English illustrator who seems to specialise in books for very young children. They are either concept books or well known songs or rhymes. Her pictures are bright and the animals endearing. Her first book Cat's Colours is a favourite with the preschoolers who visit my library.

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