July 9, 2017
I admire your books and enjoyed your reviews on NPR! I want to pass this story on to you. It is from my friend Tinka Slavicek, a Croatian puppet builder and puppeteer (from Zagreb) who now lives in London. It's about her son, nicknamed "Noosh." Here it is:
Perhaps I'll just tell you the story, out of the blue. It's actually not so much out of the blue, because I've been wanting to tell you that story for a while now. It is inspired by the picture book Big Orange Splot, the one I first saw amongst your picture book collection, and then got it for myself. Then Noosh re-discovered it, an
d it is one of his favourite picture books. The story took place a while ago, when Noosh was about 3 years old and we just red Big Orange Splot for the first few times. And then, on one occasion, we were painting, and after that I left some green paint in the kitchen, thinking I'll wash the pots later. I went off to do something else somewhere else...and on my return I found my son
who climbed up and was happily engrossed in painting kitchen top in green.
'Nooo!!!', I yelled. 'What on Earth have you done!'
I didn't know weather I'll ever be able to wash the paint off the wooden kitchen top, and I also wasn't sure our landlord will like the idea of green kitchen...
Noosh was not used on me yelling at him, I hardly ever do it. He got really upset and was yelling himself too.
I went even further, and asked him: 'Was this nice, to make such a mess in the kitchen?'
'Yes! Yes, it was nice!', he was crying inconsolable.
I realised I went a bit too far, and gave him a hug. We were both crying and hugging.
Few days later, Noosh asked me to read him Big Orange Splot again. When I came to an end of the story, my son said: 'See, that's how I wanted our kitchen%u200B to be colourful, like Mr. Plumbsby's house, but you got angry. Now just tell me - why?'
I was speachles for a bit. Then I said that now I understand what he was up to.
He asked me weather we'd be able to have a house that we can paint as colourful as we want... I said yes, we'll have a house that we can paint like rainbow if we wanted to...it might be a very tiny house, but still, we'll paint it in anything we want. If nothing else works, I was thinking, we can get a little shed and paint it in all the colours.
Thanks for sharing Tinka's story. It always surprises me when I learn that someone, (in this instance, Noosh), has internalized something I wrote, and added personal meaning to my story. I think this may be how art of all kinds works...the artist may have something in mind, or as in my case, nothing in mind, and the reader or viewer or listener, makes a connection and creates something.