La pomme rouge
September 8th is International Literacy Day. Keep reading…
One day is just not enough to celebrate all the great books out there, so B is for Books is going to declare September International Literacy Month. For the next few of weeks in September, we will explore children’s books from around the world and embrace this medium that truly has the ability to cross universal boundaries.
French story La pomme rouge is written and illustrated by Japanese author and illustrator Kazuo Iwamura.
La pomme rouge is illustrated like a flipbook so you don’t have to know a single word of French to understand the story. Having a picnic on top of the hill, a little girl takes out a delicious looking red apple but it slips out of her hand and begins rolling down hill. Down the hill it rolls, along with the little girl, who is soon followed by a rabbit and a squirrel in the merry chase after the red apple. In their attempt to chase it down the hill, the cast of characters stumbles and goes rolling after it, coming only to a stop when they all bump into a bear. In the spirit of sharing, they each take a bite out of the apple until only the seed is left which they plant on top of the hill.
Granted the plot isn’t complicated which made the visuals easy to follow. The illustrations are very simply rendered in soft gray pencil with just a touch of red for the apple. The characters are cute and cuddly. The drawing style reminds me of the Charmin toilet paper roll commercials. My only beef with La pomme rouge is the ending. I found the composition of the last three pages confusing and maybe this is where knowing French would have helped. It was really hard to see the apple seed in the bear’s paw because they were the same gray tone. The perspective in which the scene was rendered also made it difficult to tell what the characters were doing. I think an overhead view of the characters standing around the hole and planting the apple seed would have been easier to read. In the final scene I think it would have been nice if a little apple tree was shown growing on the hill, just to bring things to a full circle
La pomme rouge, a children’s book review by Thao Lam
Author and Illustrator Kazuo Iwamura
Japanese author and illustrator Kazuo Iwamura was born in Tokyo in 1939. He started out illustrating for children’s programs that aired on NHK (Japan Broadcasting Corporation). He went on to become a designer for a cosmetic company before realizing his passion and style was best suited for children’s books.
Publisher ÉCOLE DES LOISIRS