A CAUTIONARY TAIL
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.