Things are completely heating up here at Barnes & Noble Kahala.  Dog the Bounty Hunter is in the store and there is no question as to his popularity…the entire back row of book stacks toward the Music Center side of the store are completely filled with people waiting in line to get an autograph on his latest book.  Hopefully, as people come in, shop and buy books, magazines and coffee drinks they remember to mention “First Book” at the cashier.  It costs nothing extra for the buyer and will go to benefit the children in Hawaii who need it most.

If you haven’t noticed, both Misty and I are doing three books each, the significance being that there are three parts to a Shamrock, a common representative for the month of March.  To complete my trifecta of Hawaiian keiki book recommendations I selected to read and review All Around the Islands (BeachHouse, 2005) written by Vera Arita with illustrations by Ruth Moen Cabanting.  This book is based on a classic children’s rhyme, “Over In The Meadow” which teaches children sequence in numbers, counting to ten.  However, Vera Arita takes this classic song and turns it into something for the Hawaiian child, taking us on an ecological adventure through all eight of the main Hawaiian Islands—highlighting the uniqueness that each place offers to make Hawaii great.

Vera Arita does a terrific job transcribing “Over In the Meadow” into something wonderful for Hawaiian kids.  What was once a simple journey through the meadow, becomes a lesson on the variety of environments in Hawaii and the people and animals that make it their home.  Such highlights include the humpback whales dancing under Lahaina’s sun, pineapple bugs flying through the pineapple fields of Lana’i, brown cows calling out loud on the fields of Moloka’i and my favorite, Kauai’i’s abundant chicken population represented through the clucking of a mama chicken and her little chicks three.  Ruth Moen Cabanting’s vibrant illustrations punch up the story with cute but realistic interpretations of each island, with exceptional versions of Hawaii’s wildlife.  One of the small touches I liked that added a graphical flair to the book were the big numbers punctuated above the verses engulfing a tiny section of the corresponding illustration which helps the reader know which number they are on.  This is a nice little book, one that I would recommend for kids learning to count, because it also shows them the different kinds of fauna  and locales you can find in our island paradise.

All Around the Islands
Written by Vera Arita
Illustrated by Ruth Moen Cabanting
BeachHouse Publishing, 2005
24 pages
For ages 4 and up