Making friends is a skill that takes time and practise. I find that picture books make it easy to explore new ways to initiate (and maintain) friendships, as well as allowing children to spot ineffective approaches.
Bearing this in mind, I was very excited to receive a copy of ‘Oscar Seeks a Friend.’ Don’t be fooled by the rather gorgeously gothic cover, Oscar is the sweetest little skeleton you’ll ever meet!
The story begins with Oscar wishing he had a tooth to fill in his gap to make him look a little less scary. So naturally, when he sees a girl burying a tooth in the ground, he asks her if he could have it. At first, she was reluctant. But when she realised giving Oscar her tooth would gain her a friend, she quickly agreed.
The pair then set off on a wonderful adventure together. First in the girl’s world….
and then in Oscar’s……
…. both finding what they were looking for along the way.
Pawlak’s intricate illustrations are painstakingly crafted using various collage techniques and add a layer of ethereal, fragile beauty to the story. He’s also the author of this text which was originally written in Polish before being translated for the English-speaking market by Antonia Lloyd-Jones and being published by Lantana Publishing.
I recently had the pleasure of interviewing Antonia about her work as a translator for my Library Girl and Book Boy podcast and was fascinated to hear what a pivotal role translators play in getting culturally diverse titles into the U.K. market. We also chatted about why it was so important to expose young readers to story-telling traditions and creators from other cultures. You can click on the link HERE to listen.
*Thank you to Lantana Publishing for sending me this title to review and to Antonia and Pawel for giving their time to answer my interview questions*