There’s nothing quite like the first autumn rains in the Antipodes to get you in the mood for cosy. Lying in bed with a book and a blanket, and reigniting one’s love affair with words.
It reminds me of a book I bought for my niece.
It’s the kind of book that you can pick up and feel the scratchiness of wool, smell its musky dampness and be taken back to those cosy afternoons around the pot belly, when Grandma taught you to crotchet.
But that’s beside the point.
One of the karmic traits passed down through my family is a trademark shyness. Even my niece, little G, who is the talkative one of the bunch, sometimes forgets to speak.
Like the day we visited the Frankston Creepy Crawlies Sand Sculpture Exhibition.
The kids were busy, making art of multi-coloured sand, and I spotted G, eyes boring holes into a group of girls.
“Sweetheart, say hello to the girls,” I say. They look at her expectantly, then frown, affronted, as she gives them another once over and runs away.
It’s that moment you remember your own discomfort around strangers, growing up. How do you break the curse?
Bugs in a Blanket, written and illustrated by Beatrice Alemagna, is an endearing, original book about a community of bugs who live in a mouldy blanket at the bottom of the garden.
They have an opportunity to meet for the first time when they are invited to Fat Bug’s birthday party.
From the moment Fat Bug opens his burrow to welcome his guests, he is confronted by the fact that not one of his guests looks at all like him.
Tongue tied and exasperated, he triggers a line of questions passed from bug to bug, each accusing the other of being weird and ugly.
When the circle is complete, all bug eyes are boring into him. Why is he fat like a hippopotamus?
It’s a comical moment, when Fat Bug realises what a stupid question he has asked.
His answer reverberates with a domino effect around the burrow.
“I don’t know, I was born this way,” they all begin to say. And with that, the bugs get on their freak and start to dance…
Actually, the book was published before the song, so maybe that’s where Mother Monster got her inspiration from – a few wee little bugs boogieing in a blanket ;)
The message is as simple as a smile. At least, if we’re going to share this musty old blanket, we might as well accept each other’s differences. Starting with ourselves.
Do you have a trademark freakishness? When was the last time you let it loose?