Paul Meets Bernadette

Paul Meets Bernadette
by Rosy Lamb
Candlewick, $14 (40p)
ISBN 978-0-7636-6130-4

Paul Meets Bernadette Two goldfish admire the view from their bowl in Lamb’s promising debut. At first, orange juice–hued Paul spends all his time circling “from left to right and from right to left,” without much emotion or variety. “And then one day, Bernadette dropped in.” The newcomer, a saucy tomato-red fish, makes imaginative observations about their kitchen-table surroundings, pronouncing a banana “a boat” and a teapot “an elephant.” As the fish watch the “elephant” filling teacups (courtesy of an offstage human hand), Berna-dette cautions, “you must not disturb her when she is feeding her babies.” Amused children will protest as Paul falls under Bernadette’s spell, especially when Paul correctly identifies a pair of fried eggs and Bernadette contradicts him: “That is the sun and the moon!” Lamb’s delectable painting technique recalls that of confection-master Wayne Thiebaud; her backdrops resemble buttercream frosting in turquoise, sky blue, and lichen green, and she limns the fishes’ domain with impasto brushstrokes of white, yellow, and marine blue. Her sly approach to the way that love and friendship can alter one’s very view of life welcomes repeat visits. Ages 4–8.

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