Not everyone can see the joy of the “gloomy and rainy skies” and decide to go outside for a walk – but Curly Orli can and does. Though she heads out after a rainy night into a sunny autumn day in Curly Orli Goes to Vancouver, this new children’s book character is full of energy and enthusiasm. In her debut story, she takes Bunny Arni on a tour of Stanley Park and its environs, encountering many other creatures and interesting landmarks along their way.
The brainchild of Lana Lagoonca (real given name Lana Ayelet Shahar-Kulik), the plasticine-made character came to her on one of her walks with her curly-haired daughter, Naomi. Curly Orli Goes to Vancouver is dedicated to Naomi, as well as to Ella, Lagoonca’s younger sister by almost 16 years, who also has curly hair.
“Curly Orli is a young traveler who loves nature, animals, and shares her experiences and travels in her diary,” explained Lagoonca, who is a graphic designer, author and illustrator.
Born in Riga, Latvia, Lagoonca moved to Israel with her family in 1995. There, she studied visual communications at Askola-Meimad, Tel Aviv’s College of Art and Design. In 1997, she met her husband, Vlad, originally from Ukraine, who was a student at Tel Aviv University. Together with their young daughter they immigrated to Canada four years ago.
“After moving to Vancouver, we fell in love with this beautiful city,” Lagoonca told the Independent. “Living Downtown for several years, we learned all the paths there. Stanley Park, English Bay, Coal Harbor – we were fascinated by what surrounded us. More than anything, my daughter and I love to go out … [and] we tried to draw what we saw. We started to paint when she was nine months old. When she was one and a half years old, we began sculpting Playdough. We started with the simple geometric shapes, which gradually became more complex.”
She and Naomi would watch the yachts and ships in Coal Harbor and English Bay and then try to create them with Playdough at home, explained Lagoonca. They did the same after encountering raccoons, herons and rabbits in Stanley Park, making the animals from Playdough and then playing with them, staging funny scenes.
“We, parents, can influence our kids’ intelligence development, so I’ve paid, and am still paying, a lot of attention to clay modeling,” said Lagoonca. “Modeling helps children to develop artistic taste, spatial imagination, fine motor skills of hands, and perseverance.”
April 7, 2012 Russian Literary Portal Knigozavr.
Book review by JENNI PEROVA.
November 4, 2011. “Vancouver and Us” Russian newspaper in Vancouver article about Lana’s book “Curly Orli Goes to Vancouver”.
2003, Vesti, www.vesti.co.il
Vesti/ News (Israeli Russian-language daily newspaper) about Lana’s first plasticine project for Russian immigrants.
by VITA DOLGOVA