posted by A.Alba


As I scour the bookshelves of Hawaii’s own children’s books, I notice how distinguishing the covers of these books are compared to their grown-up counterparts.  Browsing through these lively and colorful exteriors makes me feel like a kid again; perusing through a store of eye candy, trying to figure out which confection I can call my own.  Pono, the Dog that Dreams immediately catches my eye with its soothing design, soft colors and adorable cover model.  Illustrator Donna Burns brings her skilled hand to this book about an orphan dog whose dreams precipitate many fun and interesting adventures.  From visiting a mo’o, or water goddess, to discovering treasure in the surf, and enjoying the delicious food and familial atmosphere of a luau, dreaming and living with Pono is a fun-filled joy.

Pono-the-DogOne of the great little things I noticed about the book is that interspersed throughout the story are tiny bubbles at the bottom of the page with brief definitions of some of the Hawaiian words and local terms used on that page.  This is a wonderful addition for kids who may be learning about Hawaiian and local culture as well as adults who may not know the extent of the rich vocabulary we employ here in Hawaii.

The only real setback that I found with reading this book is that just as I became completely immersed with the climactic finish, hoping for a dramatic conclusion to the events that unfolded, I was left with a cliffhanger.  I won’t give away too much of the story, but after following Pono’s grand story I am anxious to get my hands on the next chapter of his dream realizations.  So, this is a call to Jocelyn Fujii to get that next Pono book out, especially if Donna Burns returns to realize Ms. Fujii’s words into the beautiful crayon/water color pages that lay before me with Pono, the Dog that Dreams.

For those of you following us today, we are at hour two of our “8 books in 8 hours on 8/8” book rec-fest.  If you are reading this as I’m posting this today or even tomorrow, make sure you stop by Barnes & Noble Kahala and help out First Book Oahu by mentioning “First Book” for any purchases you make in the store.