Wednesday, April 25, 2018

You Can't Be Too Careful! by Roger Mello

- A Picture Book To Ponder And Talk About -

From the PublisherBrazilian writer and illustrator Roger Mello gained international recognition when he won the coveted Hans Christian Andersen Award in 2014. According to the jury, “Roger Mello’s illustrations allow the child to be guided through stories by their imaginations. The stories demonstrate a broad international understanding. The illustrations are both innovative and inclusive, and incorporate images that promote tolerance and respect between individuals from different cultures and traditions.” In You Can’t Be Too Careful!, Mello explores an idea he had as a child: that one small action can have marvelous consequences. Through wordplay, dreamlike images, and a playful lightness of touch, You Can’t Be Too Careful! expresses serious questions about the dangers of greed and the importance of kindness.

The first part of the story is about a barefooted gardener who keeps careful watch over a white rose. We learn why he has no shoes: because the cat, who was given to him by his youngest brother, hid them. We learn his youngest brother’s wife inherited the cat from an uncle. And the story continues by informing the reader as to what happened to cause her uncle to die, and her to inherit the cat.  

For each event, we get to know what the cause is. The story is then retold in the opposite direction, but distinct because this time many acts of kindness are included.

The story hinges on the compass rose that has vanished off the map. 
“Who’s hidden the compass?”

My Thoughts 

What Concerned Me: Not really a “concern” but more of a warning to people who are used to picture books being for younger children. While this might be a fun read for young ones, it really is a thought-provoking story for older readers (and adults).
What I Liked Most: This is an interesting story that will cause multiple readings and conversations. The illustrations are also quite unique.
Author/Illustrator: Roger Mello
Translator:  Translated from Portuguese by Daniel Hahn
Published by:   Elsewhere Editions (April 2017)
  • Ages: 8 – adult
  • Pages: 40
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