09 April 2008

The Lonesome Puppy

Americans may already have Clifford the Big Red Dog, but “The Lonesome Puppy” reinforces the idea that bigger isn’t necessarily better.

In fact, when you’re a dog that’s taller than Russia, with legs bigger than Sequoias, it can be hard to make friends. Bend down to sniff them, and they might get sucked into your nose. So the puppy was, indeed, a lonesome puppy. But when a curious and determined little girl climbs up into the clouds to explore, she is a surprised to find a new friend. Soon, the puppy wasn’t lonely anymore.

It’s a book that’s dedicated by renowned Japanese artist Yoshitomo Nara to physically challenged children everywhere. The moral of the story is that there is a friend for everyone, if people only stop looking past the people who seem different and take the time to get to know someone as an individual.

The artistry is wonderful, all charcoal lines and indefinite boundaries. It mimics the way that many so-called “normal” people view those who are different: as a nebulously defined “thing.” It encourages us to define their boundaries by getting to know them.

Of course, if the homeless panhandler down Broad Street looked more like a furry puppy than a lunatic, it would be easier to get to know him. But as parents generally don’t allow their children to wander down urban streets unattended, the readers of this book will likely take these lessons to school with them. In a best case scenario, it will prompt children to look more carefully around them for unexpected surprises.

[Source: Metro Spirit]