Pongo by Jesse Hodgson.
Red Knit Cap Girl by Naoko Stoop.
Pongo the orangutan lived deep in the rainforest and searched for the sun. Red Knit Cap Girl lived in another forest and she longed to see the moon.
Beyond this main commonality of characters reaching for celestial orbs, both in this pair are books that make the world slow down. Which is my very favorite kind—and something a picture book has the unique power to do.
“Pongo lived deep in the dark, dark depths of the rainforest. The trees grew so tightly together that hardly any sunshine ever reached down to the forest floor.”
Pongo was lonely and gloomy. He wanted to find the sun way up high, the sun that was bright and orange, a bit like him.
He met others on the journey up, creatures he mistook for the sun by their color. A snake, a babboon’s bottom(!), a beehive.
I love the way Jesse Hodgson‘s depiction takes us into the story, so many spreads are like extreme close-ups. It’s as though we’re actually in the rainforest, climbing, seeing with Pongo.
Finally, he meets Papaya, another orangutan. Together, they see the sunrise. Pongo, Papaya, and the long-awaited sun. Lonely and dark no more.
Thanks to Flying Eye Books for images!
I was provided a review copy of this book; opinions are my own.
Red Knit Cap Girl
“…most of all, Red Knit Cap Girl wonders about the moon. ‘Could I ever get close enough to the Moon to talk to her?'”
Red Knit Cap Girl and her everpresent friend White Bunny tried to get close to the moon in the sky, but it was hard to do. As she continued on her quest, she, like Pongo met other creatures who advised her.
Instead of reaching the moon, the girl devised a way to ask the moon to come to her. She and her friends planned a celebration and with one final touch, dark falls and the yellow moon appears.
Naoko Stoop‘s animation-like drawings are given so much depth, texture, and spotlighting because she painted on plywood with the grain of the wood showing through.
(If you’re a fan of Naoko Stoop’s work, there are plenty of prints featuring Red Knit Cap Girl in her etsy shop. There’s also a second book, Red Knit Cap Girl to the Rescue, with more to come in the series!)
Thanks to Naoko Stoop for the images!