TITLE: Pardon Me!
Author/Illustrator: Daniel Miyares
Publisher: Simon & Schuster (2014)
I owe this blog about a million entries, but recent events have prevented me from writing. Which is to say, that recent events being what they are, I have been sucked into a negative vortex of what could politely be termed as “adult life”, and have been spending my time worrying about an “Important Issue” (ironic capitalization and overuse of quotation marks completely intentional). In short, I have been dealing with a certain salesperson who has ripped me off and absconded with quite a sizaeble portion of my money.
The bird in this book shares my pain. He knows what it’s like to resent others. He is sitting, most contented on a small island in a swamp before he is joined by a giant goofy stork. Before long a frog hops along. Then a turtle. What was previously a peaceful haven is suddenly a crowded meeting place, with the bird squawking irately at each new arrival. I won’t spoil the ending for you, but this book ends up putting a smile on the scowliest of faces and a laugh in the knottiest of bellies.
The art in this sparingly worded book is absolutely divine, from cover to cover. The end papers are as understated as they are a bold statement of truth (I know this sounds like an oxymoron). The changes in the sky as the story continues are really, truly breathtaking. Emotions throughout the book, from quiet, to ominous, to aggravated, to the climactic freak-out and back to quiet and ominous again, can all be traced through the background colours in the sky. The fine details in the feathers, clouds and on the surface of the water all add to the characters and storyline in this book.
Do you ever have a day where a book chooses you? If I worked my way today through the entire Purple Book Cart, and then moved on to my well-stocked public library and on again to the children’s literature library where I work, if I went through every book in the football fields of archives wedged under the Mississippi River, I doubt that I would find a more perfect book for myself in this moment. This book has pulled me out of my dark space, and replaced the bitter scowl on my face with a vow to be calmer, more relaxed, and willing to open my life to the better things all around me.
An Australian who lived in Japan with my bicultural family now living in the USA, I believe that there are more different realities than there are books to be written.