Pomelo Begins to Growby Ramona Badescu, Benjamin Chaud (Illustrator)
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/i>
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.
"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 47. (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 potatoesset simply against oversize white pagesbreathe 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 executionand Badescu’s universal subject mattermakes this a picture book that children will return to again and again. " School Library Journal
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)
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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