Bingbo (text), Gumi (illus.), The Pear Violin, Starfish Bay Publishing, 1 March 2015, 32pp., $14.99 (pbk), ISBN: 9780994100245 and
Bingbo (text), Jianming Zhou (illus.), The Cowardly Lion, Starfish Bay Publishing, 1 march 2015, 32pp., $14.99 (pbk), ISBN: 9780994100238
These books are written by Chinese author Bingbo, who has written more than 370 children’s stories. These two books carry messages about the importance of friendship and courage. The Pear Violin is about a small squirrel that finds a large yellow pear, he eats half of it and with the other half decides to make a violin. The music the squirrel plays changes the dynamics of the forest. Soon the lion is no longer chasing the rabbit but asking it to stop and listen to the music with him; the fox becomes friends with the chicken and all other animals gather together to listen to the music, putting their differences aside.
In The Cowardly Lion a big lion named Telulu is scared of all of the animals in the forest. Each time he encounters one and runs away scared he shrinks. By the time he meets the mouse, Telulu is only as big as the mouse and they become friends. One day a cat sees the mouse and tries to attack but Telulu intervenes and scares the cat away. His action causes him to grow. Each time he assists an animal in the forest he grows until he is back to his original size. No longer afraid he encourages the animals to become friends with each other.
These books use the problems of the animals in the jungle as a metaphor for the challenges children face, such as being brave and helping others, and putting aside difference to get along. These books are aimed at pre-schoolers.
reviewed by Katie Poidomani