A review of Augustine by Mélanie Watt

Published on September 1, 2006

Mélanie Watt

Kids Can Press

In Augustine, written and illustrated by Mélanie Watt, a young penguin must leave her South Pole home and the many people and places she holds dear when her father gets a job at the North Pole. Timid Augustine first doesn’t play with the children at her new school, settling in a corner of the playground where she draws with her blue pencil. When classmates take an interest in the drawings, Augustine overcomes her shyness and tells them about one of her creations. Watt’s acrylic and pencil crayon artwork is innovative and vibrant. The book’s left-hand pages consist of nine individual squares of “Augustine’s” art. Nearly all of these pages contain drawings inspired by artists: Warhol, Dali, and Monet. The title character’s name is inspired by Pierre-Auguste Renoir, her stuffed-toy penguin is named Picasso, and her teacher’s name is Miss Lisa. This charming tale, rich in polar puns, deals with themes of change, belonging, and self-expression in a clever and refreshing way. mRb

Carol-Ann Hoyte is the Quebec English-language regional coordinator for TD Canadian Children's Book Week and organizer of monthly mixers for Montreal anglophone children's book authors and illustrators.



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