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Book Reviews

Paulina P. (for Petersen)

by Lisa Cinar

Paulina Petersen prefers the letter P. And when you hear how Paulina puts it, who wouldn’t? Being so partial is a perfectly pardonable predilection!

In her second book for children, author-illustrator Lisa Cinar shows, through a mix of simple rhyming narration and interjected speech bubbles, just how all-consuming Paulina’s penchant for the letter P really is. In one of the book’s more entertaining spreads, Paulina pretends to be a pharmacist with nothing but P-word remedies – such as a pony pendant for sadness and a pinecone for repelling liars.

The book’s art, a combination of photo collages and childlike drawings, is an effective blend of media. Almost every page is picture-heavy and filled with P items for kids to identify along the way. Additionally, each use of the letter P is highlighted in colour, making the emphasis even clearer for little ones learning to read.

Paulina P. also comes fully equipped with a life lesson. While Paulina is partial to all things P (including her best pal, Penny Lee), she must learn to accept that not everyone shares her passions. Penny Lee, for example, prefers hearts, chocolate, and frilly dresses. “Preposterous!” replies Paulina. “Why can’t people plainly see the beauty of the letter P?! It’s an outrage! It’s a shame! Why can’t we be more the same?”

Paulina soon realizes, however, that if she forces others to be more like her, others could also force her to be more like them. This  message of accepting each other’s differences is executed in a fun and silly manner and doesn’t come across as remotely heavy-handed.

In all probability, the charming, smart, and energetic Paulina P. will promptly become the preferred picture book of your pint-sized progeny.