A CAU­TION­ARY TAIL

Sunday Tasmanian - Tassie Living - - BOOKS -

Writ­ten by Erica Har­ri­son, im­ages by Si­mon Rip­ping­dale ( Pen­guin ( Vik­ing), hard­cover, $ 24.99) THE lit­tle girl at the heart of this story is born with an ex­tra bit on her bum. As time goes by, it grows into a long, beau­ti­ful tail that ex­presses all her feel­ings, and be­cause it is a re­flec­tion of their beloved daugh­ter, her par­ents em­brace her dif­fer­ent­ness with­out ques­tion. Even her class­mates think it’s cool.

Un­til one day they don’t. As chil­dren grow into ado­les­cents, life is all about try­ing to fit in, rather than cel­e­brat­ing the things that make us in­di­vid­u­als. Dev­as­tat­ingly, the girl’s pain at the re­jec­tion of her peers leads to the de­ci­sion to cast off her unique­ness, but her search for hap­pi­ness only ends in a dead grey­ness be­cause she is no longer her true self. Is there any hope for her to be who she re­ally needs to be?

Told in wag­gishly funny rhyme and il­lus­trated with im­ages from the an­i­mated short film that fea­tures the voices of Cate Blanchett, David Wen­ham and Barry Otto, this truly ex­cep­tional book of­fers an insight into the pres­sure we put on our­selves to con­form and be what oth­ers ex­pect us to be. It is also a warm, witty, won­der­ful celebration of the quirks of hu­man­ity that mark us as in­di­vid­u­als with our own place in the world.

Such a spe­cial and valu­able story for chil­dren of all ages, even ado­les­cents who may nor­mally shun pic­ture books.

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