Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Being Different

 I attended a workshop on “Sharing books with children” at the local library today that featured the ideal books to be read to kids at different stages of their early childhood. It was nice to have them share tips on picking the right book for your baby, toddler or pre-schooler. What they missed out was picking the right picture book for you!:-) I'm not kidding when I say that some picture books actually teach you a valuable lesson that may perhaps escape your little one. I read one such book today that not only engages kids but inspires adults too.
Today I read “Argus” by Michelle Knudsen and illustrated by Andrea Wesson, a book that celebrates being different! At Science class, each kid is handed an egg and to Sally’s dismay, her egg  is unlike everyone else’s. When she brings this to the attention of the teacher Mrs. Henshaw, the teacher asks her not to be difficult and points out that some eggs just look different. When all the eggs hatch into sweet little chicks, Sally’s egg hatches into a creature looking like a green dragon with yellow eyes. When all the kids gather around poking fun at Sally’s supposed chick, Mrs. Henshaw, their teacher, chides them asking them not to be difficult.  As everyone charts the growth of their chicks, Sally is instructed to do the same with her chick whom she names “Argus”. When all the kids admire, pet and draw cute pictures of their chicks, Sally wonders how she ended up with Argus who is too big for her to pet, too wild to let him mingle with the other chicks, and too hideous to draw a cute picture of. But one day, when Argus goes missing, she expects to feel relieved and happy to be rid of this black sheep. But instead she finds herself missing Argus and fearing for his safety. The whole class then embarks on a search and rescue operation for Argus who is found digging holes in someone’s front yard looking for bugs! Sally is delighted to have her ‘chick’ back! When all the kids put up their chicks’ growth charts, Sally’s chart looks different as hers is the only graph that measures how much she loves Argus. I love this book as it beautifully conveys such a simple message avoiding all the usual clichés. Argus didn’t have to prove anything to be loved by Sally. He was just himself – so being different need not be difficult!


  1. Well said..loved the gist of your blog!!

  2. It is also a lesson for parents not to lose their minds comparing with other children and their achievements.

  3. Thanks Shilpa and Rajaram! is certainly a lesson for parents not to compare their kids with others!