Prather’s Pick: A peach of a story
It’s peach season, and this week’s picture book for children is about the last peach of summer. The problem is — will it get eaten? “ The Last Peach” was written and illustrated by Gus Gordon, an Australian–born author.
The two main characters of the book are cute insects with large wings, antenna, and long noses. One of them wears a black hat, and both of them wear outfits.
The author has used a clever way to let the reader know which one is speaking. The words of one insect are printed in grayish-black; words of the other one are in red.
One insect notices the last big peach of the season as it hangs from the tree. What a peach it is, too. It’s perfectly-shaped and perfectly-ripened. The two insects stand there admiring it. One insect tells the other that it is the finest, the most beautiful peach he’s seen all summer. He asks if the other insect doesn’t agree.
The other insect agrees. In fact he thinks it is the most beautiful peach of all summers.
The insects talk back and forth to one another in this manner. One says they must eat the peach at once. The other agrees. They both say, “Yes.”
But then a green grasshopper in a black derby hat comes along. He points to the peach with his cane. Grasshopper says they can’t eat the peach because it is the last one of the season. (His words are printed in green.)
The other two insects reply, “Oh.”
The grasshopper leaves, and the two insects talk about eating the peach again. They’re about to do it when a big insect with fuzzy antennae and wearing coveralls says the peach looks grand on the outside, but inside it’s probably stinky and rotten.
What a dilemma! Would a bite from the peach cause them to have tummy aches? If it’s magic, could they fly after eating it (but then they can already fly). They even think about inviting all of their friends to eat the peach. They imagine sitting around a table with their creatively-illustrated friends (including a caterpillar), but our two insect characters might not get much of the peach if they did that.
First the two main characters decide to eat the peach; then they decide not to. Finally, they get into a brawl over whose peach it is.
Will anyone eat the peach?
I love the clever artwork in this book. It is somehow done by using papers printed with words—I think in French. The leaves, the insect wings, clouds, tree trunks are done this way. The inside covers of the book are designed with different varieties of peaches.
How much fun it would be to share this book with a child and then to share a peach, too.
“The Last Peach” is published by Roaring Brook Press, 2019. The book costs $17.99 in hardcover or you can find the book with new books in the children’s room at the Craig branch of Moffat County Libraries.
“A Long Time That I’ve Loved You,” this week’s picture book for children was written by Margaret Wise Brown, the author of “Goodnight Moon,” published in 1947 — a classic in children’s literature. The illustrations for this week’s book, done by Kate Hudson, are breathtaking.