Tag Archives: compassion

The Old Man

The Old Man
Sarah V. and Claude K. Dubois
Gecko Press

Softly spoken and compassionate, this little book has amazing power to move.

In the city, morning has come; it’s time for everyone to begin the day. The children set off for school and beneath a blanket, an oldish man, a rough sleeper stirs, slowly and reluctantly. Anonymous, he’s freezing cold, in need of coffee and very hungry. He walks and as he does so his hunger increases.

As he grows wearier, he slows and stops for a rest and watches the passers by; memories of his past drift into his mind until he’s suddenly awoken and told to move on.

Belly rumbling, he heads for the shelter in the hope of sustenance but when his turn comes he cannot even recall his name so leaves – empty.

A bus affords a brief shelter from the wet and cold but his sleep is interrupted by unkind words from which he flees as soon as possible.

His loneliness is pervasive as he wanders on and through a park until towards the end of the day, when he’s wrapped himself in his blanket once more, a little girl approaches him smiling; she offers him her sandwich

and likening him to a teddy bear, walks on. No sandwich has ever tasted so good.

Fuelled by her kindness the man heads back to the shelter once again. When asked his name this time, “Teddy” comes his response.

A wonderful demonstration of how it often takes a young child to take notice, to see beyond the surface, to show empathy, reach out and make that vital connection.

Claude Dubois’ soft watercolour pencil sketches with their loose imagery underline the mood and the chill of this drifting tale of our times. Entirely unsentimental yet enormously heart-warming, this is a book that needs to be shared and discussed everywhere, not least by policy makers in government who have, dare I say, been instrumental in creating the circumstances like those of this homeless man.

A Home Full of Friends

A Home Full of Friends
Peter Bently and Charles Fuge
Hodder Children’s Books

Peter Bently does rhyming narrative with aplomb and it’s once again the case here.
Kind soul, badger Bramble doesn’t quite know what he’s letting himself in for when he offers Scuffle the dormouse, toad Tipper

and Boo the hedgehog a bed for the night when they’re made homeless by a storm. Rather that’s all he thinks he has to contend with as he hurries home concerned about his messy sett, stretching his supper to feed four and there only being one bed.
Bramble busies himself making preparations: makeshift they may be but entirely adequate for a badger and three pals.
His thoughts are interrupted by a loud knock at his door and the sight that meets his eyes is more than a little shocking. Three entire families are standing on his doorstep …

Fortunately though, they’ve brought with them everything they’ve managed to salvage from their wrecked homes and it’s not long before, with full bellies, they’re having a wonderful time playing games and sharing a bedtime story

before snuggling up for the night.

Warm-heartedness shines out of Charles Fuge’s beautifully detailed scenes which, together with Bently’s text, make a read aloud book with a compassionate message which is particularly pertinent given recent weather disasters and the ever increasing numbers of displaced people in various parts of the world.

Welcome

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Welcome
Barroux
Egmont Publishing
CRACK! The ice breaks and Polar Bear and his two friends are swept away far from their home, losing everything they hold dear. They’re frightened, our narrator tells us but they cannot any longer stay in those icy surroundings: it’s imperative they find somewhere else to live and they must keep their spirits up no matter how scary things get …

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Then land is in sight; but will they be able to find refuge here? Sadly not …

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On they go, still hopeful but again their hopes are thwarted, not once but twice … and things are getting desperate …

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Surely there’s somewhere they’re not “too bear-ish”, “too furry” or “too tall”? somewhere with plenty of room for all, where things aren’t too much bother …
Finally as the last remains of the iceberg turn to water, the bears find an empty island, one whereon they can make a home for themselves and …
With a beautiful twisting finale, this highly topical book is a must have for all early years setting and primary classes. It needs to be shared, discussed and shared again to help everyone understand the issues and challenges migrants face, no matter from whence they come, or go. We MUST empathise, we MUST help, we MUST open our arms and welcome them …
This moving, thought-provoking book is a step along the way to understanding and compassion; and thanks be to the brilliantly talented Barroux for creating it.

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