Wednesday, June 12, 2019

Children’s Book Review, Cocoon

by Susan Stephenson,

Cocoon is a children’s picture book written and illustrated by Aura Parker, and published by Scholastic Australia (2019.) RRP: $Au 24.99 HB.

From the publisher:

Dawn and her best friends have a plan! They are going to eat as many leaves as they can, weave cocoons and turn into moths so they can FLY!

Easy peasy, right? But what happens when days go by and Dawn still doesn’t have her wings? What if she doesn’t grow them at all? Will Dawn ever get to chase the lights with her friends?

A beautiful story about patience and achieving your dreams.

Aura Parker won my heart with Twig, which was one of my top children’s picture books in 2016. So I was thrilled to see Cocoon arrive Chez Chook. Ten seconds later, after drinking in the cover and the absolutely delightful endpapers, I plunged into a tale about Dawn, a caterpillar. And immediately I have a new contender for Top Picture Books of 2019!

Parker triumphs as both author and illustrator. Young readers will find themselves immersed in the life of an insect larva, and incidentally learning about metamorphosis without realising. I particularly admired the way Parker helped us see Dawn’s world through her eyes, helped us imagine her life.

There are also so many fascinating visual details for kids to appreciate. I loved the varied perspectives, such as an aerial view of eager little caterpillar faces surrounding the paper diagram of “the plan” - eat lots of leaves, weave a cocoon, become a moth and FLY! And the cut-away views of the inside of the cocoon are delightful. Kids will adore the blue prints of Dawn’s imagined dream cocoon, the sheer variety of illustration formats, and the wonderful seek and find activities in the end-papers. This is definitely a picture book to pore over, and read again and again.

I recommend this truly beautiful picture book to libraries and homes everywhere. It will make an excellent resource for junior grades in science, and appeal particularly to kids 4 - 7. I think it will also be useful to adults looking for a read-aloud about perseverance and following your dreams.

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