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Change your mind

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Published on Apr 14, 2020

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1/11Cambiare idea - the Shelf 2/11Emma Adbåge, gift, Beisler3/11Emma Adbåge, gift, Beisler4/11Emma Adbåge, gift, Beisler5/11Emma Adbåge, gift, Beisler6/11Anthony Browne, if...?, Camelozampa7/11Anthony Browne, if...?, Camelozampa8/11Anthony Browne, if...?, Camelozampa9/11Anthony Browne, if...?, Camelozampa10/11Anthony Browne, if...?, Camelozampa11/11Anthony Browne, if...?, Camelozampa

Lately there have appeared two books dealing with two birthday parties: two texts apparently very different, but instead I found similar to some interesting insights.

The first is the gift of Emma Adbåge, author of the Swedish I was very impressed with his first book, arrived in Italy in The hole. In that trial the ability to tell a story without filters, the world of childhood had impressed me: without scaffolding or stereotypes adults imagine was told with honesty and simplicity. Also in this case, what is striking is the back-step that the author makes in telling the story, and in this case, the ill-feeling that a gift can trigger in a child of 3 years. The protagonist tells the story, in fact, the restlessness in the hours before the feast of his friend Frej: the mom bought a red castle to give to his friend, but the new game seems to be at the little protagonist was the most beautiful of the identical castle that already has green in colour. During all the preparations in the house before the exit of the house is the malmostosità of the child to occupy the words and thoughts of the story: while the mother in the robe while you dry the hair, while package the gift, while the mother puts her shoes...

"Green, ugly, and stupid. And that I like the most. The red castle is much more beautiful"

Even the euphoria of the party seems to not scratch up the bottom of the bad mood of the child, that is, until Frej unwraps his gift:

""OH, NO! I wanted it GREEN!!!!” growls when he sees the castle green"

It is at that moment that the protagonist changes in mood, feels better, and happier: he has something that the friend would like.

Also in this case, adults are the spectator aside: the mother accepts the whims and protests without giving any teaching moralistic to the child and even the parents of Frej involved, when the small celebrated he is angered, in a way not exactly polite. I found this choice very interesting: the feelings of envy, revenge, claim the selfish... arose naturally in the minds of the small (as large) and will undoubtedly find space in the stories for children, with great difficulty, if not to be demonized and moralisticamente redeemed. The author instead chooses to allow that to happen and that they are the children to manage their emotional world and the dynamics of the relationship between them, even in the case of the reactions mean. A choice – in my opinion – normalizing in favor of the reality that is often ignored in favour of the account of ideal situations, even if it remains in me the feeling that I was immersed in an emotional environment is not pleasant.

The illustrations are beautiful, for concreteness normal that communicate in a few simple strokes and basic colors, acquarellati distributed with the wisdom of the harmonic on the pages: the soft light of the chandelier, the ottoman that we imagine velvet pink, the bra that holds the breast of the mother, the hair on the floor, and the mess in the room...

The second birthday party rather see as the protagonist Joe, a child which we imagine to be a bit bigger, struggling with another feeling, not exactly pleasant: the anxiety of facing a new event (the party) alone.

In what if...? Anthony Browne, mom and Joe are walking through the neighborhood in search of the home of Tom, the birthday boy, (have lost the invitation and the time spent together is an opportunity for all the fears of the child a reality and you verbalizzino.

""And if at the party there is someone who doesn't know?" "Well, it's nice to meet new people""

The style of the absurd and surrealist by Antony Browne smashes this context, the everyday and the normal, when Joe and his mom come to the different houses to check whether it is Tom's house.

After that mother and son have just talked about the new friends, the window of the house in which peek here present a framework that seems to really belong to a museum collection: Bruegel, Dalí...

The paintings re-read and re-illustrated with scenes from the disturbing and frightening in their being completely out of context, but in a way that is consistent seem to make real the fear of Joe: after the talk about the new friends here, a family of martians, after the concern of the food here is what seems to be a festival of not-birthday of Lewis Carroll with Humpty Dumpty and Tweedledum and Tweedledee. Emanations of the concerns of Joe, which make the catastrophes that the child imagines. The border between the inside and the outside is a metaphor for the not-too-veiled telling of the inner world, and sometimes frantic, waving in the bosom of the people and of children. The external context, the dusk and in the evening, amplifies the sense of discomfort that accompanies the walk in the neighborhood: we are so disturbed that now when we arrive at the last house, grim and black as in a horror film, we are now ready for the worst. And instead of a head which much recalls the famous Max (and a warm light) is ready to welcome Joe.

The figure of the parent, in this case, it is much more involved: the mother is the mediatrix of all the emotions of the child, emotions which includes and shares (the end is significant!).

Two birthday parties, or rather, two trips to two birthday parties of rich insights and reflections, and all the freedom to change their mind, overcome their pettiness and their own anxieties as they head into the world.

The article Change idea seems to be the first on a low Shelf.

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