Children Can Appreciate Their Own Unique Talents
Reviewed by Victor R. Volkman
Jacqueline Briggs Martin’s Bim, Bam, Bop, and Oona (University of Minnesota Press, 2019) is a large-format, hardcover book lavishly illustrated by Larry Day. The seemingly nonsense words of the title are the character names of Indian Runner ducks and reflects Briggs’ lifelong love of the sounds of words. She credits this obsession with the fanciful names of the cows, like “Riverflat Blanche Wisconsin,” on the farm where she grew up. Every illustration is a glorious edge-to-edge, two-page spread of outdoor life, from barns to fields. Oona the duck is not much of a runner, and so always, always comes in last place. However, she has skills as a tinkerer and amateur inventor. I could indeed relate my own childhood experiences to Oona, which was an unexpected thrill in reading this book. Oona finally invents a flying contraption that puts her ahead of the pack and finally achieves her goal of doing something in which she is first. The ducks then celebrate Oona and, as usual, everyone lives happily-ever-after. Bim, Bam, Bop, and Oona is designed for ages 3 to 7, a perfect read-aloud for younger kids and an awesome first-reader for older children.