First some overdue thanks: Whilst we were away on holiday we were honoured to be nominated for a 'One Lovely Blog award here by the brilliant and herself lovely Child Led Chaos. One of the nicest things about starting this blog has been making a whole clutch of new online friends. In my latest tentative paddling into Twitter (I am NOT an 'early adopter' by nature)(I still use the landline and keep the mobile for emergencies), Child Led Chaos has been the most welcoming and generous 'hand holder'.
Her blog is a great mix of book and product reviews and crafting exploits with her girls and always a funny and enjoyable read. Do go visit- and take your wallet- she'll have you lusting after lovely wooden toys you thought you'd grown out of.
The other debt of thanks I should acknowledge today is to another 'lovely' blog; Library Mice which was where I read the first review of today's choice; Alexis Deacon's 'Croc and Bird'. I love Alexis Deacon's 'Beegu' so was excited to see a new book by him anyway. Having read the review I was even more keen to seek it out.
This is a very good book for our family:
'Side by side on the sand sat two eggs. A bird...and a crocodile. "Hello brother," said Bird, "I'm hungry," said Crocodile.'
It's fair to say the Fellow Reviewers in the household might as well be a crocodile and a bird in their approach to the world and each other at times. 'I'm going to eat you' and 'Stop poking me with that stick' and 'Get off my head I am dead and I am going to make you dead.' are heard rather more often than 'What co-operative, fair trade game shall we play nicely together with now?' or 'No no. I think you'll find it's YOUR turn' etc.
Actually I quite like it when they fight nicely as it seems healthier than just ignoring each other to pursue their separate interests which also happens. Same gene pool; different creatures.
So this perfect small story of how a crocodile and a bird grow up side by side and learn to depend on each other as family had resonance for me and I hoped it would for Bill and Eddie too. Croc and Bird teach each other how to sing, fly, bask and hunt buffalo without realising their difference until they eventually move into the jungle and come across others of their own species. They must then make decisions about where they really belong. It's an example of the picture book at it's most powerful, where a spare text married with the most beautiful and love-infused illustrations can be read in a myriad of ways about the meanings of family and friendship. Warning; it may make you teary.
Did it move the boys and make them realise the strength of their bonds anew, the life long importance of their sibling relationship and shared experiences of childhood? Did it make them embrace tearily and vow to face the world united forever?
Eddie has 'adopted' this book. When he's sitting at the table and he feels his dinner is taking too long to arrive he likes to make like Bird and quotes plaintively from the book:
"Open your mouth as wide as you can and food will come"
At which point Bill likes to act like Croc and try and throw something in.
And then they'll both giggle together.
I'll settle for the shared laughter.
'Croc and Bird' by Alexis Deacon. pub. Random house isbn 978-0-091-89332-3
(another book with glorious end papers! eggs one side, hatchlings the other...)