Come Again, Pelican – Don Freeman

Come Again, Pelican by Don Freeman
Published by Plough on May 7, 2024
Genres: Children's
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From the creator of Corduroy, a newly restored classic picture book that celebrates a child’s bond with the natural world. Every summer Ty’s family came to camp in their trailer at the same beautiful spot on the white sand dunes by the ocean. And every year, as long as Ty could remember, the same old pelican had welcomed them. This year, as soon as the trailer was parked, Ty pulled on his shiny red wading boots and ran with his fishing pole to look for his friend. “Be sure not to lose those new boots of yours,” his father said. And Ty didn’t – not really. But by the time the tide had quietly crept in and as gently flowed out again, some surprising things had happened and both he and the pelican had made unexpected catches. What could they have been to make both boy and bird so happy when each swapped his catch with the other? Pictures full of space and light and the shining colors of sky and sand and sea help to tell the delightful story of Ty's adventurous afternoon.

This book is a reissued classic from Don Freeman, the author and illustrator best known for Corduroy. I grew up enjoying a number of different books by this author, but I had never heard of this one before. It is a wonderful representation of his art style and his imaginative sense of humor, and even though there are times where it’s clear why a book went out of print, this one is a rediscovered treasure. I really enjoyed Come Again, Pelican, with its charming seaside setting and entertaining story, and I am glad that it is now available for a new generation of children.

The illustrations are gorgeous, with a beautiful portrayal of the ocean and some lovely sunset scenes. The story has a wonderful sense of atmosphere, and the final twist is cute and funny. Even though I had never read this book before, it felt familiar in the best way, with the art style and tone that I enjoyed from so many classic picture books during my childhood. However, even though the book has a vintage feel that will appeal to older readers and those who grew up reading lots of mid-century picture books, the story itself is timeless. The only aspects that feel dated are a couple of clothing details, and the little boy’s freedom to have his own adventure without his parenting hovering nearby.

Come Again, Pelican is a delightful picture book that combines a sense of vintage charm with timeless appeal. Even though some classic picture books feel too long and wordy for a contemporary audience, this one is just a little bit longer than the standard picture book on the market today, and it is perfectly paced and engaging. The lovely beach illustrations and humorous story can appeal to all ages, and I highly recommend it.