Once upon a time there was a penguin and a little boy. Well we had the penguin when I took the photos and now we have the little boy too, but even without either we’ve still been big fans of Oliver Jeffers books ever since we discovered that he accidentally wrote H’s teenage holiday exploits in the form of Stuck, and we’ve been gradually adding to the collection ever since. I’ve yet to find one that I didn’t like, but I think that Up and Down might just be one of my favourites, and not just because the penguin knits!
No it’s simply that underneath the slightly more fanciful elements it is at heart a story of true friendship.
I think as you go through life you find that there are friends that you have for a season, like your very very bestest friend at primary school who you swore you’d never be parted from, only to rather loose touch when you went to different senior schools, or the friends from senior school that just took such very different paths once the Leaver’s Ball fireworks had finished and the balloons wilted.
And then there are the people who it doesn’t matter how many days, weeks, months or even years have passed since you saw each other last, you just pick up where you left off.
I think the boy and the penguin would fall into that category. The penguin really wants to learn to fly, and the boy will do everything he can think of to help, and then when he can’t help, he’ll do everything he can think of just to be there for his friend.
And ultimately to catch him when he falls.
And if it turns out that penguins really shouldn’t try to fly because they don’t actually like it, well they can both chalk that one up to experience. What matters most is that despite everything, despite the penguin running off on a little frolic of his own, despite it being a crazy plan in the first place, there is nothing that can truly shake that friendship.
It’s entirely possible that I’m reading a little too much into it, that it is just a sweet story about a boy and a penguin who volunteers to be a penguin cannonball, but after a few weeks in which Kitty has watched friend after friend have their ‘last day’ at nursery as they head off to school or to transfer to a preschool attached to their future school, while she sits tight for another year, it feels good to have been reading something that gives a little reassurance that this doesn’t mean that she’s never going to play with her friends again. It just might take a little more organising, and some Mummy telephone magic that’s all.
If you have a favourite, or just something fun your little ones have enjoyed reading lately please do join us. The linky is always open for the whole week so there’s plenty of time. And so, without further ado, it’s over to you to tell me what we should be reading!