desert island question

Anna Clare McDuff amcduff at
Fri Apr 30 05:12:27 EDT 2004

On Mon, 26 Apr 2004, Robyn Starkey wrote:

> focus on books for younger readers. I am even thinking about maybe having 
> one class on baby books.

	For fantasy for toddlers, have you considered Leo Lionni's
Pezzetino or Tove Jansson's picture books? I've loved Pezzetino since I
was a child myself, it's sort of a pre-school existential primer about a
little square piece who lives surrounded by beings made up of little
square pieces.  Convinced that he is someone's missing piece, he goes on a
quest to find out who he really is. I'm not sure if it's still in print,
though. Lionni is fairly popular so I'd say there was a good chance, but
it's really not as mainstream as some of his other picture books! Two of
Tove Jansson's picture books are definitely in print in the UK though. Who 
Will Comfort Toffle, about a lonely and shy little Toffle who needs to 
learn to be a friend, and The Book Of Moomin, Mymble & Little My, a 
stirring tale of adventure with lots of shapes and colours & holes cut 
out in the pages so you can follow the action through to the next page, 
have recently been republished by Sort Of. 

	Much as I adore the Moomins if I had to recommend only one book
I'd plump for Pezzetino as you want to discuss issues of power, and...

Bad Spoiler!
I am about to give away the ENTIRE PLOT.

...Pezzetino is all about power and identity. Pezzetino, the litte piece,
starts off on his quest thinking he has to find some larger being that he
is a part of so that he can be reincorporated, but when he askss his large
powerful friends if he is their little piece they ask him how could they
possibly function if they had a piece missing? Eventually he sails away to
the rocky Island Of Wham and when he falls down and smashes into little
pieces he realises that he made of many parts, he is a whole being, he is
himself. So he picks himself up, puts himself back together & goes home to
celebrate. I think your class would find plenty to discuss there!

So there's not very much of a plot. It's a picture book!

	I've always loved that book, still have the same copy I've had 
since I was three, and I think it is much the most interesting of 
Lionni's books. And while I've always related to Pezzetino's existential 
quest I can relate to his physical predicament right now too, as I've been 
stuck at home for the last three weeks after falling into a rocky pothole 
& ripping my knee open. I've just heard I have to stay off work for at 
least another two weeks, which is a serious annoyance, but at least it's 
healing up & I am hobbling around the neighbourhood a bit on my 
crutches.  Could be worse! And I am myself :-)

	Anna, delurking after far too long away. Good to be back!

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