Pomelo Begins to Grow

Overview

What happens as a little one begins to grow? Do parts of the body grow unequally? If the outside grows, does that mean the inside is changing too? Children love it when they begin to grow! But they also have questions and maybe even worry a little too. Pomelo Begins to Grow explores this rich material with playfulness and humor, without undercutting the importance of the questions.

Ramona Badescu was born in Romania in 1980. She arrived in France at eleven and started to write ...

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Overview

What happens as a little one begins to grow? Do parts of the body grow unequally? If the outside grows, does that mean the inside is changing too? Children love it when they begin to grow! But they also have questions and maybe even worry a little too. Pomelo Begins to Grow explores this rich material with playfulness and humor, without undercutting the importance of the questions.

Ramona Badescu was born in Romania in 1980. She arrived in France at eleven and started to write for children at twenty-one. A busy, prolific writer, she currently lives in the wonderful city of Marseilles.

Benjamin Chaud has illustrated an impressive number of picture books and has written at least one as well.

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
The young elephant Pomelo is growing up, and this French pair, in their English-language debut, chronicle his doubts and questions, transferring onto his eraser-pink body and round eyes the anxieties that ordinary children have but rarely express. " a little worried that he won't grow equally all over," Badescu says, as Chaud supplies vignettes of Pomelo with an oversize ear here and an outsize leg there. When Pomelo "wonders what has to happen on the inside for him to grow on the outside," Chaud draws a cutaway view of Pomelo full of complex, mysterious machinery. And to demonstrate that growing up involves "having new experiences," Chaud shows Pomelo eating a hot pepper with fire roaring out of his mouth. Badescu is honest about young childhood's losses ("But seriously, does growing up mean one has to stop clowning around?") and encouraging about older children's joys ("hen your old fears return you are able to laugh at them"). Chaud lavishes as much energy on the verdant backgrounds as on Pomelo; they're like Henri Rousseau's tropics. The whole makes for a quirky, delectable treat. Ages 4–7. (Sept.)
From the Publisher

A New York Times Book Review Editors' Choice and Notable Book of the Year for 2011.

"I loved “Pomelo Begins to Grow.” Funny, smart and idiosyncratic, graceful and intuitive in a way that feels as much dreamed as written, Ramona Badescu’s tale (translated from the French) is less a story per se than a series of musings, a kind of ad hoc therapy session for those conflicted about getting older, which, in contemporary America, where middle-­aged men dress like skate punks and 20-something women covet face-lifts, means pretty much everyone. Badescu’s title character is a little garden elephant (distant relative to a lawn flamingo, I learned from an online garden-­supply catalog), who notices one morning that “his favorite dandelion” seems unusually small. So too some strawberries, a pebble, a potato and an ant. Light bulb: Pomelo realizes it’s he himself who’s getting bigger." -- Bruce Handy, The New York Times Book Review

Starred Review Pomelo Begins to Grow by Ramona Badescu, trans. from the French by Claudia Bedrick, illus. by Benjamin Chaud. Enchanted Lion (Consortium, dist.), $16.95 (48p) ISBN 978-1-59270-111-7
"The young elephant Pomelo is growing up, and this French pair, in their English- language debut, chronicle his doubts and questions, transferring onto his eraser- pink body and round eyes the anxieties that ordinary children have but rarely ex- press. “[Pomelo’s] a little worried that he won’t grow equally all over,” Badescu says, as Chaud supplies vignettes of Pomelo with an oversize ear here and an outsize leg there. When Pomelo “wonders what has to happen on the inside for him to grow on the outside,” Chaud draws a cutaway view of Pomelo full of complex, mysterious machinery. And to demon- strate that growing up involves “having new experiences,” Chaud shows Pomelo eating a hot pepper with fire roaring out of his mouth. Badescu is honest about young childhood’s losses (“But seriously, does growing up mean one has to stop clowning around?”) and encouraging about older children’s joys (“[W]hen your old fears return you are able to laugh at them”). Chaud lavishes as much energy on the verdant backgrounds as on Pomelo; they’re like Henri Rousseau’s tropics. The whole makes for a quirky, delectable treat. Ages 4–7. (Sept.)" -- Publishers Weekly

" [...] Badescu’s endearingly anxious pachyderm mirrors the familiar impatience to grow up, the determination never to act like adults do, and the many other concerns “medium”-sized people face. The author and illustrator demonstrate a brilliant marriage of text and illustration. Chaud’s charming paintings of Pomelo in his landscape of dandelions, strawberries, and smiling potatoes–set simply against oversize white pages–breathe life and humor into Badescu’s big-picture questions, while playing with scale. Youngsters will laugh at the silly depictions of Pomelo as he grows unevenly, while adults will smile at his joyful exploration of a countryside dotted with asparagus trees, broccoli bushes, and sushi flowers as he learns to love foods that aren’t sweet. The imagery may remind some readers of the modern Japanese ultra-cute cartoon style, but the masterful execution–and Badescu’s universal subject matter–makes this a picture book that children will return to again and again." -- School Library Journal

Children's Literature - Ken Marantz and Sylvia Marantz
Pomelo, a young elephant with a very long trunk, notices one day, to his joy, that he has grown. But he realizes that he will have to wait while he grows "little by little" before he can do something really big. Meanwhile he worries about how he will grow, inside and out. Will he turn gray, grow old and wise, even grow "beyond the edges of the page?" Pomelo really wants to know what will happen next: when he is grown up can he do whatever he wants to do, and will he still have to do what he does not want to do? As Pomelo grows, he learns many new things, and wants to know more. Finally, "...he feels big enough for a big adventure." The end pages visualize "growth" clearly: the front pages show a line of mushrooms along the bottom while the back pages display the mushrooms touching the top. Pomelo appears smiling on the jacket in profile as an odd, bulky pink animal with a very large eye and a trunk wrapped snake-like all around his body. A very inventive gang of other odd creatures is included in the story, while decorative plants add to the attractive page designs. Pomelo's feelings are clearly depicted: when he worries about growing "equally all over," we get six small illustrations of him with different body parts oversized. Through Pomelo young readers can confront many of their concerns as they grow. Reviewer: Ken Marantz and Sylvia Marantz
School Library Journal
Gr 1–3—Pomelo is a small pink elephant with a tape-measure-like nose. Curious about the size of his favorite dandelion, he begins to measure things and notices that he himself has grown. "All at once, Pomelo feels the super-hyper-extra force of the cosmos spreading through him." But this feeling comes with all sorts of existential questions: Will he grow equally all over? Will he still have to do the things he doesn't want to do when he gets big? Badescu's endearingly anxious pachyderm mirrors the familiar impatience to grow up, the determination never to act like adults do, and the many other concerns "medium"-sized people face. The author and illustrator demonstrate a brilliant marriage of text and illustration. Chaud's charming paintings of Pomelo in his landscape of dandelions, strawberries, and smiling potatoes—set simply against oversize white pages—breathe life and humor into Badescu's big-picture questions, while playing with scale. Youngsters will laugh at the silly depictions of Pomelo as he grows unevenly, while adults will smile at his joyful exploration of a countryside dotted with asparagus trees, broccoli bushes, and sushi flowers as he learns to love foods that aren't sweet. The imagery may remind some readers of the modern Japanese ultra-cute cartoon style, but the masterful execution—and Badescu's universal subject matter—makes this a picture book that children will return to again and again.—Jayne Damron, Farmington Community Library, MI
Kirkus Reviews

A tiny pink "garden elephant" has a mighty epiphany in this buoyant, if sometimes oblique, French import.

Suddenly realizing that he's taller than an ant, Pomelo "feels the super-hyper-extra force of the cosmos spreading through him. And maybe something even stronger that that!" Whatever it is, it touches off a series of Big Questions, from wondering "what has to happen on the inside for him to grow on the outside" and "does growing up mean one has to stop clowning around?" to whether he's already "forgotten something along the way." Now he looks forward to new experiences, and "want's [sic] to know more" about everything. Endowed with googly eyes and a really long trunk that looks like (and seems about the size of) a wriggly earthworm, Pomelo broadcasts his excitement as he bounces through Chaud's big, very simply drawn cartoon garden scenes. He paints strawberries to look like Easter eggs, takes a mud bath with a corps of smiling bright red-and-yellow potatoes, tries new foods like hot peppers (and, on another page, even sushi) and at last marches off in search of a big adventure after "learning to say 'goodbye' and being able to hear others say it too."

Dr. Seuss has already explored most of the places he'll go, but there's always room for another heads-up that adulthood's coming—particularly one that doesn't take itself too seriously.(Picture book. 6-9, graduates, adults)

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781592701117
  • Publisher: Enchanted Lion Books
  • Publication date: 8/16/2011
  • Series: Pomelo Series
  • Pages: 48
  • Sales rank: 990,276
  • Age range: 4 - 8 Years
  • Product dimensions: 9.20 (w) x 12.40 (h) x 0.50 (d)

Meet the Author


Ramona Badescu was born in 1980 in southern Romania.She arrived in France at the age of 11 and started to write for children ten years later. She lives in the wonderfully diverse French city of Marseille.

Benjamin Chaud lives and works in Paris. He has illustrated an impressive number of picture books and has written at least one as well.

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