Saturday, November 22, 2014

Nothing by Mick Inkpen

Picture Book month - a Celebration of some picture book gems

"But instead he found himself shuddering and shaking, as great uncontrollable sobs quivered up his little raggedy body, and sat him on the ground.  
'I don't know who I am!' he howled.  I don't know who I am!"

A little toy is lying neglected in a dusty attic.  On moving day he is tossed aside as the attic is cleared and he hears someone say "Oh its nothing .... let the new people get rid of it."   Now that the pile of junk has been moved little Nothing can stretch and stand.  He takes his first steps and embarks on a journey of self discovery.  Along the way he meets different characters - a mouse who is the voice of doom, a fox who may be an enemy but luckily Nothing cannot be eaten and finally a cat named Toby who is destined to play the role of a true friend.

There are times when a book feels like a window to your soul. I may be going too deeply but this simple search for identity and a name does seem to mirror the journey we all take throughout our lives.  I adore the work of Mick Inkpen (I heard him speak once at a conference and yes this is his real name!) and I especially love this little book Nothing.  You may already know his books about Kipper.

In US schools celebrations for Picture Book Month are well underway so I decided to browse my school library picture book shelves and, without spending hours, pick out 20 special picture books. No doubt if I did this again I would make a different selection but I am happy with my twenty books for this year.  I did plan to read one each day at the end of lunch time but so far we haven't managed this so I thought I might focus on my choices here in my blog.

Why did I pick Nothing by Mick Inkpen?
Essentially this is a book about identity.  It is a sensitive story and includes a heroic character - the cat who takes Nothing to his new home.  I love the narrative arc and the affirming ending where we see little Nothing restored to his former glory.

Are there other books you might link with Nothing?
The perfect match with Nothing would be The Bunyip of Berkley's creek by Jenny Wagner. Other possible books are Hidden House by Martin Waddell and Albert Le Blanc by Nick Butterworth who coincidentally is a good friend of Mick Ingpen.

Something special
As I sat down to re-read Nothing tonight I discovered our old copy has an autograph by Deborah Inkpen the wife of Mick Inkpen.  I wonder how that happened?  This book was purchased over twenty years ago so I guess I will never know how our copy came to be signed.

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