There Must Be More Than That!

There Must Be More Than That!
Shinsuke Yoshitake
Chronicle Books

In our increasingly pessimistic times, it’s really good to have children offered an alternative perspective on the future, especially when it’s presented with the wonderfully droll humour of Shinsuke Yoshitake.

It opens on a rainy day with big brother saying to his younger sister, “Hey, Sis. … Our future is doomed … Terrible things are going to happen … That’s what a grown-up told my friend.”

Feeling somewhat deflated the little girl goes and passes on his message to her Grandma. She however is much more level-headed suggesting focussing on the good things and the many possible choices one can make: “Grown-ups act like they can predict the future … but they’re not always right,” she says, immediately triggering more positivity in her grand-daughter.

She in turn then goes on to envisage possibilities of all kinds – ‘A future where it’s okay to spend the day in pyjamas’ – little did she know! – and one where ‘robots take us everywhere’ … and ‘someone always catches the strawberry you drop’ … and ‘someone does your homework for you.’ (“Bring it on,” I hear youngsters cry).

Now the girl is really on a roll, imagining outgrown shoes put to use as planters; being able to ban carrots, and having ‘that bully’ abducted by aliens or even finding her own true love and consequently not being bothered about the bully boy.

If you’re thoughtful, you can always think of extending your horizons and not thinking in terms of polar opposites. Thus good/bad could become ‘not bad / hard to say/ questionable / interesting /could be okay / strange’ or ‘I don’t know’.

There are lots of alternatives for an aging Grandma too – who knows, she could wake up as a teddy bear or live for 300 years. And as for that boring boiled or fried egg that Mum offers as the other options to left-overs for dinner … there are plenty of better ways to make an egg …

You just have to make up your mind which …

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