Serena Geddes is an international book illustrator with more than fifty titles published in Australia and overseas. Rosie and Rasmus, her first author illustrated picture book, draws us into the world of a lonely young girl, Rosie, who encounters an equally lonely dragon, Rasmus. Rosie lives on the outskirts of the social life of her little village and wishes the other children would notice her. Rasmus lives in a big tree on top of a nearby hill and wishes he had wings to fly.
Their friendship begins when Rasmus lowers a purple flower, wrapped in his tail, down to Rosie as she sits sadly under his tree. We see the tail, then his hind legs, and finally they are beside each other, overlooking the ocean, introducing themselves.
We would be remiss not to mention that Rasmus may well be the cutest dragon ever, with his gentle smile, floppy ears, and pudgy belly. Geddes' skill as an illustrator shines in her ability to bring the characters alive with only pictures and spare, carefully chosen words; we see and feel the friendship of these two as they inflate balloons together or as we view them far below from the soaring heights of the kite they are flying.
Convinced that he will one day fly — and encouraging Rasmus to share her confidence — Rosie sets to work devising plans to help. Some of these are laugh-out-loud funny, like one in which she imagines four little birds attached to Rasmus with winding white ribbons, lifting him aloft. We next see the birds with cartoon-bubble question marks over their heads as Rosie tells them, "Hold the ribbon, start to fly, and you all lift him up in the air." Most of us can relate to the way our imaginations sometimes do not tell us the whole truth about what works on a practical level.
But imagination does indeed save the day in this story. Rosie's ability to imagine a flying Rasmus keeps his spirits aloft until the day he sprouts wings. And when he does sprout wings, and now knows he's called to fly into the wide world, we realize that Rosie's imagination made it possible for her to envision what it's like to have and be a friend — a skill that she now parlays into the real world.
This book will help 4-8 year olds understand what it means to have a friend and what new life is possible when they need to let that friend go. But its adorable pictures will appeal to all ages, as will Rosie's unconditional belief that her friend's dream can come true.