Synopses & Reviews
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.
"Rohmann (My Friend Rabbit) introduces a girl who leads a fascinating nighttime existence. ' 'Clara! Time for bed,' my mom calls. But I'm not sleepy, so I open my window... and wait for Asha.' Clara blows bubbles into the moonlight, which seem to attract the blunt snout of a benevolent, floating creature. On the next page, Clara reaches out to pet a gigantic, mild-mannered striped blue fish who's just come through her window. 'We met in the park,' the text explains, as Clara peers at a rococo fountain; on its base, stylized fish float tail to tail, blowing out streams of water and there's Asha. Rohmann has perfected the art of letting the pictures tell the story: here and throughout, he lets the image deliver the punchline. In a page-and-a-half frieze, Asha follows Clara on a slalom course through a cluster of trees with a friendly fish-grin on her face. A series of wordless tableaux imagines Clara and Asha flying together out into a starry sky above a pond, and the two blur tantallizingly (is that a splash in the Milky Way?). As in David Wiesner's work, the fantasy elements look very much at home in the child's realistic setting. Clara and her friend share a poignant farewell scene before the girl returns to bed, her mother never the wiser. In this small-scale, bedtime picture book, Rohmann offers youngsters a taste of power, liberation and joy and a good joke on the final page. Ages 3-8." Publishers Weekly (Copyright Reed Business Information, Inc.)
"Rohmann has perfected the art of letting the pictures tell the story.... Rohmann offers youngsters a taste of power, liberation and joy—and a good joke on the final page."
--Publishers Weekly "Rohmanns fine, friendly oil paintings range from frolicsome daytime scenes to lush, hypnotic dreamscapes in deep, shadowy blues."
--Kirkus Reviews "The oil paintings portray a natural world in all its glorious seasons, brimming with mystery and delight, where time spent with a friend is one of life's greatest joys. Children will revel in the opportunity to see their dreams and longings realized so enchantingly."
--School Library Journal "The artwork ... is magnificent."
--Booklist "Expressive oil paintings underscore the magic of a young girl's friendship with Asha, a giant imaginary fish.... Will delight little ones."
--Child magazine's Best Children's Book Awards 2005
About the Author
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.