In Clara and Asha -- as in Eric Rohmann's Caldecott Medal-winning My Friend Rabbit--a simple storyline becomes the basis for fun and sophistication. Clara's friend Asha is an enormous fish, which means that hide-and-seek, Halloween, snow days, and afternoons in the park offer surprising opportunities for adventure. With oil paintings that playfully suggest stories within stories and convey great emotional range, this is a captivating book about the special world of a child's imagination--where a giant fish might come to visit, and the things you do and the things you fell with an imaginary friend are intensely real.
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Leave it to Caldecott-winning illustrator Eric Rohmann to exactly capture the touching, transporting beauty of a girl hugging a fish. In fact, Rohmann may have some practice at it, having arranged a repeat performance of sorts with Asha here (the fishy friend in Clara and Asha), so similar is she to her smiling piscine counterpart in 1997's wonderfully dreamy Cinder-Eyed Cats.
To call Asha a "flying" fish would be a misnomer--Asha properly floats, as she does from the beginning of this book when she drifts in through the bedroom window of Clara, a pony-tailed girl who can't bring herself to fall asleep. ("'Clara! Time for bed,' my mom calls. But I'm not sleepy, so I open my window...and wait for Asha.") Rohmann's sweeping, lyrical, painterly style here--much more similar to Cats and Prairie Train than to My Friend Rabbit--provides a perfect backdrop for Clara and Asha's frolics. As with the huge fish in Cinder-Eyed Cats, imaginary-friend Asha seems to be brought to life from a child's longing alone (in this case, coaxed out of the statuary of a park fountain), so she;s more than happy to play tag, take baths, have tea parties, and even help Clara with her Halloween costume (as, naturally, a fisherman).
The last half of this bedtime picture-book follows Clara and Asha across several sleepy, wordless, panoramic spreads, as the duo navigates (and swoops, and somersaults) by starlight across the night sky. This graceful drop in tempo should soothe even the most hyper victim of a tucking-in--which is more than can be said for poor Clara, who receives yet another imaginary-animal visitor just as Asha excuses herself. (Ages 4 to 8) --Paul HughesAbout the Author:
Eric Rohmann won the Caldecott Medal for My Friend Rabbit, and a Caldecott Honor for Time Flies. He is also the author and illustrator of A Kitten Tale and The Cinder-Eyed Cats, among other books for children. He has illustrated many other books, including Last Song, based on a poem by James Guthrie, and has created book jackets for a number of novels, including His Dark Materials, by Philip Pullman.
Rohmann was born in Riverside, Illinois in 1957. He grew up in Downers Grove, a suburb of Chicago. As a boy, he played Little League baseball, read comic books, and collected rocks and minerals, insects, leaves, and animal skulls.
Rohmann has his BS in Art and an MS in Studio Art from Illinois State University, and an MFA in Printmaking/Fine Bookmaking from Arizona State University. He also studied Anthropology and Biology. He taught printmaking, painting, and fine bookmaking at Belvoir Terrace in Massachusettes and introductory drawing, fine bookmaking, and printmaking at St. Olaf College in Minnesota.
He lives in a suburb of Chicago.
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Book Description Roaring Brook Press, 2005. Hardcover. Book Condition: New. Never used!. Bookseller Inventory # P111596430311
Book Description Roaring Brook Press, 2005. Hardcover. Book Condition: New. Brand New!. Bookseller Inventory # VIB1596430311