Reviewed by David M. Kinchen
BOOK REVIEW: 'Ava's Adventure': Children's Picture Book Teaches Valuable Lesson

Disappointed that she can't go on a snowboarding trip with her friend Lucas,  Ava escapes to her room, where she finds that the power of imagination and her own creativity take her farther than any snowboard could. 


That scenario in "Ava's Adventure" (Tilbury House Publishers, Thomaston, Maine, 32 pages, $16.95, ISBN-10: 0884483886 ISBN-13: 978-0884483885; available from Amazon.com and other sources) delivers a powerful and important message to young people -- and their parents -- in an excellent read-aloud or read individually book by Laura Pedersen, beautifully illustrated by Penny Weber.

One picture at the beginning of the book, spanning two pages (a "double truck" in newspaper lingo), shows Lucas and Ava saying good-bye on a snowy suburban street. There's a foreclosure sign in front of one of the houses.

The message (at least as I read it): that the so-called "recovery" from the 2008 recession hasn't helped everyone. Many people -- perhaps Ava's parents? -- owe more on their houses than the house is worth. Ava's mom and dad are doing their best, but they can't afford everything on top of the art lessons for Ava and the violin lessons for her sister.

"Ava's Adventure" is at once entertaining and educational. I loved this picture book and the message it delivers to today's so often over-pampered children and recommend it to everybody.

About the Author and Illustrator

Author Laura Pedersen writes for The New York Times and is the author of Play Money, Going Away Party, Beginner's Luck (chosen as a Barnes & Noble Discover Great New Writers selection), Last Call, Heart's Desire, The Sweetest Hours, and The Big Shuffle. In 1994, President Clinton honored her as one of Ten Outstanding Young Americans. She has appeared on Oprah, Good Morning America, Primetime Live, and The Late Show with David Letterman, and she writes for several well known comedians. Pedersen lives in New York City.

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Illustrator Penny Weber has worked on several books for Tilbury House, most recently Always Mom, Forever Dad by Joanna Rowland. She lives on Long Island.