Here and There ISBN: 9781782857426
Published by Barefoot Books, 2019
Ivan is noisy and active and loves to sing just like the birds he loves so much. He is also very happy living at his mum’s house (Here), where everything is where it has always been. Now, though, he must go to stay at his dad’s new house (There), and he isn’t at all sure about that. When he gets ‘there’, he isn’t himself at all, quiet and withdrawn, and dad remarks on this. Wandering around the new house and garden, Ivan still thinks of it as ‘there’ and even the birds seem different. It is only when dad brings out his guitar and starts to play that Ivan begins to become himself again. Tapping his feet and toes, he moves to the music and then wants to know if it has words. Not yet, dad explains, as he’s just written it, but then Ivan begins to shriek and caw like the birds and to find words to express the music, and he is happy. He has discovered the good things about being with dad in this new house, which he now also thinks of as ‘here’. At home with mum again, he misses dad, and it is only when he can share the new song with mum that he feels himself again. The pictures are lovely and very appropriate to the story, and the black mum (who is tidy and neat) and the white dad (who isn’t) show us some possible reasons why this family has separated. A beautiful book about a difficult subject.