Wash On! “focuses on the joie de vivre of a world filled with colour” says CanLit for LittleCanadians
Posted on April 26th, 2018 by pajamapress
“Though most of us wash off any dirt and colours that stain our skin, a little twist of words and fate have colour splotches washing onto little Petronilla in Quebec author and translator Michèle Marineau’s newest picture book Wash On!…
Wash On! may be based on a silly situation in which colours are transferred rather than cleaned off but the story actually has several powerful messages hidden in that imaginative scenario. First, Wash On! focuses on the joie de vivre of a world filled with colour. We all need a little colour in our lives…But like anything, it is possible to have too much of a good thing, as everyone learns, including Petronilla. Once the colours explode and there is no contrast and no way to differentiate objects, that joy is lost, like the dog, in an overabundance of stain. Splashes of colour are wonderfully invigorating and therapeutic but excesses are debilitating and even harmful. Second, Governor General award-winning author Michèle Marineau recognizes the power of children in defining the world and their need to manage their own circumstances. Her family may think of Petronilla as chaotic but she seems to just want a hand in determining the life she will lead.
Michèle Marineau tells powerful stories in her native French language and this translation by Pajama Press’s Erin Woods highlights that poignancy with merriment and spirit. That same boldness is depicted with daring by Manon Gauthier’s mixed media illustrations. Manon Gauthier…continues to do amazing things with gouache, pencil and paper collage, ever different and totally wonderful.
Wash On! may say a lot about living a life in colour but it also reminds us about moderation and having control over the lives we lead. Young readers will laugh at the silliness of the family’s situation but we can all learn a lesson or two from Petronilla and her splashy world.”
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