Friday, April 23, 2010
Petit, the Monster. Written and illustrated by Isol. Groundwood. 2006. $16.95 ages 5 and up
"Do you know Petit? Petit is a good boy who plays with his dog.
Petit is a bad boy who pulls girls' hair."
I think we all know a Petit, or may have been one. One minute good, one minute later not so good. His mother wonders how her son can be so good and do such bad things. Petit does not have the answer.
But, it spurs him to think about the question posed and to consider his actions. He is doubtful that he will ever be able to determine the answers to his many concerns. He knows that he sometimes does things that make people angry, but he also does much to make them happy. He takes care of his toys but doesn't want to share them. Is he good or bad?
As he ponders these seemingly unanswerable questions, he wants two things:
"Petit just wants a little peace and quiet.
And a how-to manual to clear up his doubts."
Other images creep into his thinking. Why does he feel sorry for Gregory if Gregory is such a terrible boy? Why does Laura sit next to him even when he pulls her hair?
Who hasn't felt such things?
In the end he admits to his mother that he must be good-bad. There is no other way to explain his behavior. His mother appears to be understanding. But...
"Mother is good because she understands and bad
when she sends me to bed without dessert.
Could it be that it runs in the family?"
Perfect in every way!