Oscar the skeleton is such a delightfully quirky character! He’s the star of author-illustrator Paweł Pawlak’s wonderful Oscar Seeks a Friend, translated from the original Polish by Antonia Lloyd-Jones and published by Lantana.
After he loses a tooth, Oscar is convinced that he is just a ‘small, ugly skeleton’ and will never make a friend. But when he spots a little girl burying one of her teeth, everything changes. Oscar would love to have the tooth (‘to make me look less scary’). The girl offers to hand it over if he helps her find a friend.
So off they go, with the girl showing Oscar all the sights she’d love to show her new friend, including a meadow, a rainbow and the seaside. The collage illustrations radiate colour and tell their own story – the wordless spread showing the rainbow stretching across the sea is just completely stunning.
Then it’s Oscar’s turn to take her hand and go ‘the other way’. His world is darker but no less beautiful. The Victorian gentleman skeleton riding a penny farthing is a particular highlight!
Their worlds are so different; the complete contrast in the illustrations make this point very clearly. But really Oscar and the little girl are looking for the same thing… and it’s not a tooth.
A celebration of friendship and difference, Oscar Seeks a Friend is such a special, unique story, which resonates long after you’ve turned the final page.