Jacqueline de Rose-Ahern (text), Sophie Norsa (illus.), Charlie’s Adventures in Hawaii, Little Steps Publishing, May 2016, 32pp., $24.95 (hbk), ISBN: 9781925117721
In this delightful picture book, readers follow Charlie and his Australian family as they experience Hawaii with Kai and Amoka as their guides. Beyond just visiting popular sites, following a treasure map evokes a sense of mystery and adventure as Charlie searches for clues. After collecting treasures and learning a few words in the Hawaiian language — such as ‘akahai’ meaning kindness — Charlie pieces together the true meaning of ‘aloha’.
Charlie’s Adventures in Hawaii is an enjoyable read and an informative story for children who have visited or who are going to Hawaii. It’s also a great addition to a school library or as part of a cultural unit on the South Pacific. However, I do feel that the book would resonate better with a slightly older age range than the one it’s targeting (3-6 year olds). Maybe it’d be better appreciated by 5 to 7 year olds.
The bright watercolour illustrations by Sophie Norsa set a warm, tropical feel to the story. Attached to the inside of the back cover is a beautifully painted world map where children can track Charlie’s Adventures.
The lively text, written by debut author Jacqueline de Rose-Ahern, accomplishes what it set out to do, namely encouraging children to learn more about their world.
Reviewed by Stephanie Ward