Thursday, October 10, 2019

"Oscar Seeks a Friend" by Pawel Pawlak (Lantana Publishing)

We've recently blogged about the need for the publishing industry to 'get over' the whole "Friends are really great!" theme that runs through children's picture books.

So if we do see that theme in a book now, we need to see a lot more than just a cheesy or sickly sweet moral layered on  too thickly.

So it's nice to see a book like "Oscar Seeks a Friend" by Pawel Pawlak taking a slightly different route to that same moral, and certainly doing so in such a stylish and artistically original way.

Oscar is a little skeleton boy who loses a tooth. For most kids this is a time of excitement, tucking that little enamelled thing under your pillow can be the road to riches! But for Oscar it merely means that his devilishly skeletal good looks will put others off (I mean no one's going to be put off by the fact he hasn't got any flesh on his bones, right?)

While out for a stroll Oscar spots a little girl burying a tooth in the ground. She believes this will lead to good fortune, but Oscar has other ideas for that tooth. It might perfectly replace the one he lost, and perhaps then he'll be his handsome self once again.

The two bond over this amusing moment, and as the little girl shows Oscar her world, he takes her on a whirlwind tour of his too - and thus their friendship begins.

Pawel Pawlak's artwork is really stunning, beautifully constructed papercraft designs help to give the story a lift above others using the same theme, and we love the way this one moves between the girl's normal everyday world, and Oscar's dark and shadowy one.

Sum this book up in a sentence: The theme of friendship is so common in children's picture books that it takes something really special to lift that theme above the norm, and this book is THAT special.

"Oscar Seeks a Friend" by Pawel Pawlak is out today, published by Lantana Publishing (kindly supplied for review).