Week-end Book Review ~ Little Treasures: Endearments from Around the World by Jacqueline K. Ogburn and Chris Raschka
Jacqueline K. Ogburn, illustrated by Chris Raschka,
Little Treasures: Endearments from Around the World
Houghton Mifflin Books, 2012.
Most people have heard a parent calling their child “honey” (USA), “ducky” (UK) or “possum” (Australia). What about “kullanmuru” (nugget of gold) or “misiaczk” (bear cub)? While these may not sound familiar to some, to citizens of Finland and Poland, these are commonplace names that are heard every day.
As a young girl, author Jacqueline K. Ogburn always loved picture books, and anyone that picks up Little Treasures: Endearments from Around the World gets a sense of her passion. In this latest title, Ogburn has collected some of the most popular terms of endearment from around the world and presents them in this beautifully illustrated book. While Ogburn could have chosen to focus solely on the more commonplace languages (Mandarin, Spanish, and English), she has gone above and beyond by including endearments from countries such as Uganda, the Slovak Republic, and Finland. Even better is that alongside each endearment in its native language she not only includes the English translation but also the endearment’s phonetic pronunciation so that “readers can try to say all these sweet beautiful words…to express love for their children.”
The pictures, by award-winning illustrator Chris Raschka, were created using ink, watercolor, and gouache, and they complement Ogburn’s words perfectly. Raschka has created a sense of internationalism by adding certain details specific to each country, such as incorporating the colors of the country’s flag’s into the clothing (for example: blue, white and gold for Argentina) or including a woman in a burqa among the Arabic-speaking families. There is a certain playfulness to the characters as well, from the rainbow-palette of skin colors to a child’s lopsided smile, and the random stars, flowers, and animals that can be found among the children and their parents.
Along with the overall message that children are loved the world over, readers both young and old will delight in the vibrancy and excitement that comes with learning about a new culture and language, not to mention a few foreign words! Ogburn and Raschka have created a book that shows love is the same all over, no matter what culture, country, or continent you’re from.