Saturday, March 26, 2011

Eco-parables for children: Where is the Green Sheep?

A while back I suggested that many nursery rhymes could be read as coded eco-parables, offering a reading of Sing a Song of Sixpence and sketching out a few more. As father to a toddler, these keep jumping out at me in all kinds of places. Does anyone else see the award-winning children's book Where is the Green Sheep? by Mem Fox and Judy Horacek as a lament for the relative absence of an effective green social movement? Starting with the obvious presence of the red and blue sheep (the traditional colours of the mainstream parties in many nations), and all kinds of other sheep (the car sheep has broken down while the train sheep travels happily, even sun, rain, wind and wave sheep have showed up - renewable energy sources), finally the green sheep is discovered to be sleeping under a bush.

Wake up green sheep!

5 comments:

jm said...

it's funny the things you notice... i've always been intrigued by the 'icarus sheep' and the 'narcissus sheep' towards the end, which i suppose says something about me. and i've often thought that the very hungry caterpillar is an allegory of the christian life. the caterpillar (born on a sunday, if i remember correctly) tries to find fulfilment outside the created order, but can only be satisfied by the nice green leaf for which she was created. having tasted it she dies to her old self, is buried and raised to new life. you might also enjoy these reviews.

meredith said...

well, maybe it says something about me too, but i've just been reading the green sheep and enjoying the pictures. the only bit i've paused over is why the ned kelly sheep is holding a bunch of flowers...

would you ever share your eco-parable reading with aurora? at what age, do you think?

jessica smith said...

Meredith - Byron is already sharing! Every reading is different when Daddy is reading. He's a hoot - feminist re-tellings, anti-consumerist critiques. That greedy caterpillar has been rebuked many times. I think I enjoy his book reading more than Aurora.

byron smith said...

In entirely unrelated news, the German Greens won a state election.

Geoff said...

I had never thought of "where is the green sheep in that way". Thanks!

A good children's book by Pamela Allen is "Herbert and Harry", written about two brothers who have a falling out over a treasure they find.

The one who keeps the treasure spends his life in fear and without sleep trying to protect it. The other ends up happy.