Friday, December 2, 2016

Marguerite's fountain by Rachel Elliot illustrated by Petra Brown

"Every day Benjamin watched Marguerite dancing 
around the fountain. He longed to be friends with her 
but Benjamin was shy and didn't dare."

Marguerite dances alone but one day Randolph arrives.  He wants exclusive rights to the fountain so first he flatters and flirts with Marguerite and then he banishes her to the sewer.  Benjamin is distraught.  He knows he must take a stand and rescue Marguerite. He may not he brave but Benjamin is a problem solver.  He finds a way to turn off the fountain then he tells Randolph :

"The fountain is missing Marguerite."
"The fountain is unhappy because Marguerite is unhappy."

Randolph goes underground to investigate the problem but emerges dirty and unsuccessful. Benjamin then steps into the drain and when he emerges not only has he 'fixed' the fountain but he has found his voice.  He declares to Randolph :

"You are a coward! ... your heart is stony as the cathedral and as tiny as a single drop of water ... Leave now."

I have read some criticism of Marguerite's Fountain.  Yes Marguerite is a white mouse, Randolph is black and Benjamin is brown and perhaps this is a cliche but the illustrations (here is Petra Brown's web site) are very special and I think the message is too - bullies should not be allowed to 'win'.

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