Tuesday, 10 September 2013

Silver Buttons

"That's someone else born. That's someone else born. That's someone else born. That's someone else born."
Sometimes my children like to set up this sort of continuous chant over the breakfast table (or of course, its more morbid companion chant "someone just died, someone just died, someone just died"). It's obviously an enchanting refrain in and of itself but the thought processes behind it; the sheer, blooming BIGNESS of the world and the amount of stuff happening in it all the time, all over the place is really hard to think about sensibly. So you might as well do it whilst also shoveling in cocopops I suppose.

("That's another bowl of cocopops eaten. That's another bowl of cocopops eaten. That's another bowl of cocopops eaten.")

Or you could just enjoy the lovely 'Silver Buttons' by Bob Graham which elucidates the universality of a moment in as simple but pretty a way as I've seen.

Inside a house Jodie draws a duck, her brother takes his first step, their mother plays the tin whistle before we sail outside the window to watch a feather, a grandparent, a soldier, a boy with untied shoelaces and yes; someone being born, as well as many other moments both trivial and tremendous. All in the sixty seconds between 9.59 and 10 o'clock. Coo. Each page turn zooms us in or out, rather in the manner of an accomplished movie single frame shot.

It's quite rare for me to read a picture book and then immediately read it again and then again and then again but this one demanded it. Apart from anything else there is great pleasure to be found identifying all the small things happening in Bob Graham's beautiful wide vistas.

The fellow reviewers' reaction was more muted initially but this is a book which needs sharing, chewing over and discussing to fully enjoy I think; a deceptively sophisticated read. It's cropped up in conversations a few times now, in connection with (sigh) the war in Syria and what it might mean to be a child there. The bigness of the world is not always benign and that is also something hard to understand. Books like 'Silver Buttons' which reinforce how we are just one piece of a hopeful and beautiful whole are a very useful counterbalance.

Definitely a book for school libraries and to inspire project work; do take a look at it.

'Silver Buttons' by Bob Graham, pub. Walker, isbn 978-1-4063-4224-6

With thanks to the publishers for providing a review copy- our opinions are our own.

1 comment:

  1. 'Tis lovely isn't it. I too dove in for a second reading straight after the first and C's reaction was very similar to the boys but as we re-read it we teased out all the little details around the text rather than diving straight for the text itself. As you said perfectly, a brilliant book to use in class to trigger off a wealth of activities about time and capturing the moment.

    Lovely stuff!