Tuesday, August 31, 2010

First Tomato

First Tomato:
Far beyond the moon and stars
Twenty light years south of mars
Spins the gentle bunny planet
And the bunny queen is Janet

This sweet story from the bunny planet series by the genius writer and illustrator,Rosemary Wells, tells the story of Claire, whose cold wet, very bad day is inturrpted by a voayage to the bunny planet.

Claire, whose rounded, bunny body is bundled against the snow as she waits for her bus in the dark and snow, drifts in to a reverie and dreams of Janet. Janet, the gentle bunny queen, shows Claire the day that should have been. The illustration shows the gate to “first tomato”

It is a warm summer day when the “summer wind blows” and claires mother sends her out to the garden to bring back the bounty, including a ripe tomato. The illustrations capture the sunny happiness of a warm summer day and the pleasure of working in the yard.

All the senses are invoked in the simple poetry, the smell of the tomato, the feel of the sun. In the end, Claire's mother uses the first tomato to make a special treat for Claire.

Ultimately, Claire must return to her cold bus stop, but the memory of the Bunny Planet is enough to sustain her the rest of the way home.

This book is a pleasure to read and share with a young child. First Tomato is part of a trilogy that includes Island Light and Moss Pillows. Personally, I find Island Light as charming as First Tomato, and Moss Pillows, somewhat less so. All are full of Ms. Well's charming illustrations.

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