Children’s Book Reviews

Children's Book Review: Peach Girl

Publish May 23, 2014

In Peach Girl, Raymond Nakamura and Rebecca Bender have transformed a traditional Japanese story into a glowing fable with a fearless heroine. Momoko the Peach Girl is born in a burst of joy from inside a giant ripe peach that mysteriously appears on a farmer’s front step. She announces that she is here to make the world a better place, and the farmer and her husband adopt her as their child. They use the peach to make Momoko’s clothes and food, and she sets out on her quest to find the local ogre, who has a frightening reputation for eating children.  On her way Momoko meets a dog, a monkey and a pheasant, who agree to help her in exchange for some of her delicious peach dumplings. Momoko’s courage and resourcefulness carry her and her rather worried animal friends through to a surprising confrontation with the ogre. Nakamura has created an iconic figure in the dauntless Momoko. She is a force of nature who strides through the rural Japanese landscape with no hesitation, doubt or fear. Bender’s illustrations are bigger than life and saturated with exuberant colour. There is detail and depth in the pictures that will hold a child’s attention for a long time. In one spread Momoko’s beautiful, expressive face is so animated with inner light that one almost expects her to start moving and talking. In another, the ogre’s pagoda climbs majestically and mysteriously into the clouds. The simple text is vivid with drama as the ogre’s reputation grows ever more terrifying, relieved by a fine sense of comedy and repeated jokes. As Momoko likes to say whenever she is pleased, this book is “Peachy!” in all its lush, juicy goodness. PeachGirlPeach Girl By Raymond Nakamura Illustrated by Rebecca Bender ISBN: 978-1-927485-58-3 Pajama Press May 15, 2014 Ages 5 to 8 32 pages $19.95         Charis Cotter   Charis Cotter is a freelance writer who lives in Newfoundland. Her children’s novel, The Swallow: A Ghost Story, will be published by Tundra Books in 2014. Logo-NoTypeThe National Reading Campaign publishes children’s book reviews  under a Creative Commons License. This review is entirely free to reproduce and republish online and in print. Credit must be given to the reviewer and the National Reading Campaign. Reviews can be edited for brevity only. Contact Us for more information.