Jun. 19th, 2017

osprey_archer: (books)
The 1987 Caldecott winner, Hey, Al, is a weird book. Al, a janitor, lives in a tiny gray apartment with his talking dog Eddie, who complains that the apartment is too small. (This is why it's actually a good thing that dogs don't talk. Would we love them half as much if they did? I doubt it. They'd be just as annoying as people all of a sudden.)

IN ANY CASE, one day a giant bird shows up in Al's bathroom window all, "Hey, Al! Come away with me!" And Al and Eddie take the bird up on it and let the bird carry them away to a magical bird island, where they can bask the days away in pools of water, until they wake up to discover that they have BEGUN TO TURN INTO BIRDS.

So they fly back home and decide that the tiny apartment isn't so bad after all because at least it is not TURNING THEM INTO BIRDS. And then Al begins to paint the gray walls yellow. Happy end!

I feel there is a not-very-sub-subtext here about how you should be happy with what you have, even if what you have is a minuscule apartment that is way too small for your poor dog, because Things Could Be Worse. Although actually, on the scale of one to Things Being Worse, turning into a bird actually has some perks to recommend it - being able to fly, for instance! - especially if you would be a talking bird who lives on a paradisiacal island surrounded by giant flowers and bird friends.

Stay on the island and become a bird, Al! That's way cooler than adding a lick of yellow paint to your walls.

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