We’ve all been there, young or old, – we’ve had to move classes, schools, neighbourhoods, cities, countries, or entire continents. If you’re little, usually the move was not of your choosing. Such is the case for Augustine, a lovable and artistic penguin that hails from the South Pole and eventually moves to the North Pole.
Though slightly fearful of what lays ahead, Augustine encounters a teacher who values and encourages artistic expression in her students. Augustine realizes that she can call more than one place, “home”.
Author/ Illustrator Melanie Watt, – (well known for her Scaredy Squirrel and Chester series), – renders tender and soft illustrations that invite us to love Augustine from the get-go. Her aptly named stuffed animal (Picasso), accompanies her throughout the move. Watt creatively engages our background knowledge of famous painters (Renoir, Dali, Mondrian, Warhol, Harris, etc.), – by using a famous piece by each of those artists to tell the story visually alongside Augustine’s narration.
Some transition ideas for kids who have had to move
- Have children make a Memory Jar using a large pickle or similarly-sized jar. Children can choose what to place, (photos, trinkets, natural elements, artifacts, and so on), – from the place they have had to leave. They can pull out their jars when in need of some home comfort.
- Kids can write e-mails to old friends and family members. This will keep relationships alive and hone writing skills.
- Letter-writing has not gone the way of the dodo bird, though it would seem that way with the use of internet communication. Your kids might enjoy writing on beautiful papers using special pens as much as emailing!
- Families can make a “welcome package” for any newcomers to the neighbourhood.
There are many connections to art in the book.
- Children who tend towards the “academic” can research one of the artists found in the book and/or imitate an artist’s style.
- Kids can also design and have copied at a copy centre, their own postcards to use as communication.
- Don’t forget to visit an art gallery, and take the time to paint, sketch, draw, sculpt…