October 19, 2017

Shelter

Written by Céline Claire
Illustrated by Qin Leng
Kids Can Press
978-1-77138-927-3
42 pp.
Ages 3-7
October 2017

When a storm hits, we all need shelter in which to take refuge.  But how many would be willing to share their shelter with strangers in need?  Shelter is a story for all times and for now, when there are those with so much and so many with so little.  Tragedy, as always, becomes the great equalizer.
From Shelter 
by Céline Claire 
illus. by Qin Leng
When the animals of the forest–foxes, rabbits, birds, squirrels, boars–learn of an upcoming storm, they prepare by gathering wood and food and taking cover in their homes.  They are fearful but safe inside.
From Shelter 
by Céline Claire 
illus. by Qin Leng
Then two strangers appear in the fog and go from home to home, asking for shelter or food or light from the hearth in exchange for some tea.  Sadly they are turned away from each with lies that the dwellers have none to share.  Only Little Fox pursues them to offer a lantern.  But when the fox family must escape their collapsing den, the two strangers, bear brothers, offer to share with them the shelter they've created in the snow.
From Shelter 
by Céline Claire 
illus. by Qin Leng
If ever there was a story that illustrates the wisdom and compassion of the Golden Rule, that story is Shelter.  It is an allegory for our times of those who will not share or provide refuge for those in need or to those whom they fear, yet hope that some kindness might be extended to them when in similar circumstances.  French writer Céline Claire's story is both tragic and hopeful but Qin Leng's illustrations provide the visual context for that tragedy and promise.  From indoor havens and outdoor scenes of purposeful work, Qin Leng captures the reassurance of lives lived well.  Then, with the wind and gathering storm, she gives her illustrations a shadowy tone that emulates the anxiety of the two bears and those disquieted by their arrival.  Finally, her pen and watercolour artwork brings lightness to a dark world.

May we all find shelter during the storms, whether they be personal, political or climatic, and, whenever we can, let us provide refuge to those who seek the same.

2 comments:

  1. What a wonderful review for a timely story!

    ReplyDelete