Tuesday, August 6, 2019

Review - AYA and PAPAYA Learn to Imagine

Aya and Papaya Learn to Imagine (Aya and Papaya)
by Andy Abey
illustrated by Leo Antolini
Date: 2019
Publisher: Troubador Publishing Limited
Reading level: C
Book type: picture book
Pages: 38
Format: e-book
Source: NetGalley

When Aya woke up, she heard the gentle pitter patter of raindrops on her window. Pulling the curtains back, Aya discovers a very grey day outside.

Splish splash! Aya plays in the puddles with her best friend Papaya. It is very hard work and Aya soon feels tired. She is sad because everything is soaking wet and she has nothing to do.

But her big brother, Faz, helps her to use her imagination and think of new ways to have fun.

(synopsis from Goodreads)

This is the second book I've read in the Aya and Papaya series. This time, the topic is imagination. Unfortunately, I just read Jonathan D. Voss's beautiful Imagine That, which addresses the same subject matter in a far more magical and engaging way. It's not that there's anything inherently wrong with Aya and Papaya Learn to Imagine; it's just not at the same level of storytelling and illustration.

On a rainy day, after "splish splashing" in puddles, Aya thinks she's run out of things to do. Her older brother, Faz, tells her to think of things they can do, but Aya draws a blank. So Faz tells her to use her imagination.

I think this is where the book's biggest weakness is for me. Here, imagination is used mainly to come up with activities to do... not necessarily for imaginative play (although it does play a role there, too). As a result, the story seems too simple. Which would I rather read about: a child imagining herself in the role of dragon-slayer... or a child using her imagination to realize that she and her brother can dance to music in the living room?

The writing is simple and to the point... most of the time. At times, the prose can get a little clunky and/or confusing:

She could see the rain falling gently on the grass from the clouds.

What is this cloud grass of which the book speaks? (Perhaps it would've been clearer to say: She could see the rain falling gently from the clouds onto the grass.)

The illustrations are par for the course for this series. They bold and colourful, but also fairly simple. I did like seeing Papaya (Aya's doll) dressed up in her matching raincoat; that was pretty cute.

Overall, this is just an average book for me. I think I might've liked it better had I not just read Imagine That. The two recent releases are both about imagination and rainy days, so they're bound to be compared by readers who read both books. Unfortunately, Aya and Papaya Learn to Imagine just doesn't measure up.

Thank you to NetGalley and Troubador Publishing Limited for providing a digital ARC.

Premise: 2/5
Meter: n/a
Writing: 3/5
Illustrations: 3/5
Originality: 2/5

Enjoyment: 2/5

Overall: 2.33 out of 5

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