Saturday, 8 February 2014

Hey, Al by Arthur Yorinks, pictures by Richard Egielski

We just got this yesterday, so I can't say its been a favourite for years. I can though say that first impressions are promising that it will be.  I saw it on Vintage Kids Books My Kid Loves and thought the cover looked interesting. And the title. And I love when, in children's books there's a lot of domestic bits and pieces. Like the sock over the end of the bed, the dressing gown, the bockety light, the coffee pot, the mop and bucket.

The book begins by introducing Al, a quiet man and his dog, Eddie. They do everything together. Working, eating, watching television. So far, so sweet. You turn a page then, and hear from Eddie;

"Look at this dump!"..."We can't have a house? A little back yard to run around in for a change?"

So they're not that happy! Anyhoo, as luck would have it, While Al is shaving the next day a giant bird pokes his head in the window and offers a trip to paradise.
Which the pair accept.
Its great!

Funnily, birds are not that common in kids books. At least not in the ones we have. There's plenty of dogs,and bears and polar bears and foxes and cats. Whilst there are a few owls, the combination of a flamingo, an ostrich, various parrots, a penguin, a do-do and more is quite unusual. And so colourful!

Anyways, the price to pay for a life of leisure is that eventually, Al and Eddie start to turn into birds themselves. Which they are not too happy about.
So they make good their escape. But look, poor Eddie!
 Don't worry, all is well in the end. And the pair find that the life they had was perfectly good after all. Which I suppose is the moral of the story. I don't think thats what will bring us back to this book though. I think the reason this book is so great is that its about a guy who lives in a tiny apartment with a talking, discontented dog who gets an invite from a giant bird with unexpected results.
Write it down: Hey, Al by Arthur Yorinks, pictures by Richard Egielski.

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