Reading is one of my hobbies, or at least it used to be until I got too busy to do it. Even before I started going to school, I used to churn through 12 books a week. But over the years, I’ve had to put that hobby in the background to try and juggle all the other things I need/want to do (being the social being that I am). And now with a baby, this is proving even harder – I borrowed a book from the local library in March and have renewed it twice but still haven’t gotten halfway through it yet.
However, something I indulge in lately is children’s books! Of course, I try to read them to Jacob who is either completely uninterested or tries to eat my book (and cries when I try to take it away from him). But really, children’s books help me remember my love for reading and spur me on to pick up that bigger “adult” book that I have to try and read a chapter (only to be interrupted by a baby trying to climb the TV cabinet).
I agreed to review a new children’s book written by Katherine Bartlett, a talented lady with a love for winged creatures (i.e. birds, not bats or flying foxes). Her book has a catchy title – “Mr Pete, Where are your feet?”. With Jacob sitting in his cot at full attention, I opened it up full screen and read it to Jacob (in hopes to get his opinions too).
The book introduces us to Mr Pete and his family – his winged brothers and sisters, and his non-winged mummy (whom he obviously loves to bits despite her not having wings like him). Anyway, mummy asks him a rhetorical question, “Mr Pete, where are your feet?” and it gets Mr Pete thinking. He looks at his feet and to his dismay, they’re “missing” – he had shorter feet and fewer claws compared to the other birds.
So, he sets off to look for his feet. Along with his birdy sisters and brothers, they search all over the place for Mr Pete’s feet but to no avail. Mr Pete is disheartened and is worried that his mummy will no longer accept him for his flaws, but mummy proves him wrong with loving affirmation.
While this book addresses the issue of disability and acceptance in society, I think that it also addresses another much more common issue – accepting our flaws. Our world today pressures people so much to groom themselves to perfection that people are increasingly insecure about their shortcomings. However, all we need is a gentle reassurance that we are accepted for who we are.
I enjoyed this book – the illustrations were simple but effective. Repetition is always a great feature of children’s books and I really liked the values the book teaches. Probably a more suitable read for kindy or early primary readers, though I must say it did keep Jacob’s attention for a little while (before he started chewing on the cot railing, le sigh).
An extra bonus at the end was the fact that it was a true story (and we were introduced to all the real-life bird characters!). I think it’s really great to bring the story to life (and perhaps pave the way for a sequel?). Awesome story, Katherine, and I look forward to future books!
You can purchase her book on Amazon here.
I apologise for a bit of self-promotion along with this post, but this brings something to mind that I haven’t thought of for AGES! Back in 2007, I joined a writing competition which won me a trip to Dublin. We were meant to write a 1500 word piece on the title “Helping Hands” – and as I read the piece I wrote, I think “Damn, I was a pretty good writer!” 🙂
I found the archive of it – read my story here.
And just to prove to you that yes, I have been in the paper before, here is one of the archived articles about my prize-winning experience. Please ignore the terribly ugly picture of myself trying to look as though I’m excited.
Hope everyone had a great weekend!!! 🙂