Another book recently came our way from Independent Publishers Group – “One Gorilla” by Joy Dey and Nikki Johnson. Amid pages of watercolor images of various animals is a story of one good deed leading to another among the mighty creatures of the jungle, big and small.
The overall message of the book is great – that even one small act of kindness might be all it takes for a domino effect that changes the world, or your world at least. The animals of the jungle begin the story ready to pounce, to cackle, to frighten and to scare. But when a chimp, who often throws rocks and items at his animal neighbors, falls out of a tree and hits his head, he is the subject of laughter and ridicule by other animals. It’s not so nice being on the receiving end, the chimp learns. A helping hand from an elephant, who knows the hurt all too well, marks a sudden change in the jungle. The laughter stops, and the chimp begins to show the same kindness the elephant gave her. And it spreads through the jungle, even to the smallest turtle.
I really liked the message the book set out to deliver, and the watercolor images to accompany it are honestly unlike anything I’ve seen in a children’s book so far. I admit that it took me a little bit to register everything that was going on as we read.
We read this book, blindly, at bedtime, and the first part of the story, with the animals ready to hunt, prey, laugh, etc, alongside the splashes of paint, made some of the creatures seem a little nightmarish. But I quickly learned this was an intentional decision, as it sets up the jungle as a scary and not so kind place, leading to the change when one good act leads to another.
As we turned those pages, our 2 ½ year old there with us, I became a little anxious, unsure of where the story was going. In the end, I was able to see exactly what I think the author and illustrator set out to do – create a world of fright and mean behavior in the jungle, until one elephant acts kind enough to set off a chain reaction of good actions.
It works, and while I may have been apprehensive at first, I should have had more faith in my own son’s ability to grasp it, which he did far quicker than I. He knew the animals were acting bad at first, but started to be kind once they saw an example of it. And it must have struck a chord, as it wasn’t long before he asked for “the gorilla book” again.
Although I have a lifetime of parenting to regret this statement, at this stage of the game, one of the most frustrating parts of parenthood is when your kid is sick and there’s nothing you can really do about it other than let it run its course.
The little guy is currently under the weather (an appropriate phrase, I guess, as it’s been cool and rainy the past few days). At first we thought it was allergies, but a few days in and suddenly it was more than red, itchy eye. The eye is not longer red, but there’s trouble sleeping, coughing, a runny and sniffly nose, and a fever (which, based on the past, always puts us a bit on edge).
The past two nights he hasn’t slept that great, either coughing throughout the hours or just plain crying. This morning, his fever was gone when he woke, but as the morning progressed has gone back up again. He’s coughing, but not as ‘croupy’ as he was last night, and he’s in good spirits, playing (albeit a little slower than normal) with mama (who, also isn’t feeling all that great as of today).
Per past experience with his fever/seizure episode, we’ve been using Little Remedies Fever Reducer to try and keep the fever down, and make sure he has plenty of fluids, starting out his day with some orange juice and apple juice, per his own request. When he’s in his room and/or sleeping, we run a cold mist humidifier to hopefully break up the stuffiness in his head.
The dreary weather, I think, is actually a blessing in disguise, as the last thing I think either of us would want to do is argue with him that he wants to go run around outside because it’s sunny out. So it’s the perfect weather to let him play, relax, watch some cartoons and just try to take it easy. Although that’s a relative term. Telling him to relax and rest often leads to a whirlwind run about the entire house.
Still, it’s frustrating, knowing there’s only so much you can do. But I suppose that’s what a lot of parenthood is about – doing your best for your kid, but knowing when you have to just support and let him (or in this case, his body and immune system) do his thing.