Through the Looking Glass Children's Book Reviews

Omar on Ice (First Flight: Level 2)

Omar on Ice (First Flight: Level 2)

Maryann Kovalski
Picture Book
For ages 5 to 7
Fitzhenry and Whiteside, 2002   ISBN: 978-1550417838

More than anything Omar wants to become an artist when he grows up. He will paint people’s portraits and perhaps they will pay him in red ju-jubes, which are his favorite candy. One day at school Omar and the other bear children in the class are given the task to create a picture. All the other young bears get to work, but Omar has no idea what to draw. His teacher, Ms. Fudge, suggests that Omar draw “something you love,” and he is soon working away busily.

   When Ms. Fudge shares everyone’s artwork with the class she thinks that Omar has drawn a picture of a rock. Omar miserably tells his teacher that he has drawn a picture of his mother. Omar convinces himself that it would not matter if he used a different pencil or a different piece of paper; he is bad artist and that is that.

   At recess the bears go outside to skate on the frozen pond. Omar is the best skater in his class, but he sits on the sidelines feeling unhappy. He does not care that he is the best skater because what he wants to be is the best artist. Then he sees Elsie, who is an excellent artist, having a hard time skating, and Omar gets up to show her that skating is easy if you remember “to have fun.”

   Sometimes we dream of doing something and it really hurts when we find out that we are not that good at doing that something. We give up hope and feel upset. In this picture book Omar’s experience shows us that even if we are not good at doing that special something, we are good at doing something else. We have hidden gifts and talents that we can enjoy and share with others, talents that make us happy.

   Children will quickly identify with Omar who is so much like us, all of us. It is interesting to see how he makes an important discovery about talent and dreams.