The scent of spring

is temporarily stifled beneath snow.

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Um, yes snow. We are nearing the end of April and I am watching snow flurries drift across the window. The ankle biters are besides themselves. “Snowmen. Snowballs. Dig Dig Dig!” That’s West Yorkshire for you. And I take a moment to remind myself why I love my husband and the choices we make. My toes are cold but I do have a warm cuppa cocoa.


It’s been a bit quiet round these parts not because I haven’t been reviewing books to stimulate my budding urbanists. Every day we read  intriguing ones (like this one or this one) and really awful ones (honestly, I save you from the turmoil and don’t post on such books). Suffice to say, visiting family have been  welcomed distractions. But it’s now back to some semblance of routine (insert happy dance).

To get back into the groove of things, I’d like to introduce you to Red Ted and the Lost Things by Michael Rosen illustrated by Joel Stewart. Like the tried and true Courduroy, Red Ted starts without a caretaker. Unlike Courduroy, Red Ted is mistakenly abandoned at a train station and initiates his gumption to find his way home to his beloved Stevie. He befriends pessimistic Crocodile. Together, they navigate their way from the vaults of the lost and found, through the tunnels of the train station and onto the business of the streets. Here they befriend Cat who upon sniffing Red Ted and detecting a distinct cheese smell guides them to an identical diffusing cheese shop. Alas, the very cheese shop where Red Ted’s beloved Stevie lives. A great introduction to graphic novels, Stewart provides  monochromatic panels punctuated by the vibrancy of the main characters, Red Ted, Crocodille and Cat.

Ankle biter 1 is at the stage where he has firm attachments to his own furry inanimates. During each reading though, Ankle biter 1 clutches Brownie and George with a bit more fervour. I think he likes the fact that his furry inanimates can have fantastic adventures in the great yonder but still find their way home. Oh and he liked the bit about the cheese. Me? C’mon- public transport! And the myriad of stories attached to THINGS LEFT BEHIND. Everyone has stories. We have stories. We wish our beloved beanies would find their way home. In addition to that, the scent of the city that lingers in the story. It could be could have been bread, coffee, sewers, exhaust.. But cheese, lovely delectable cheese. The delight of a local cheese shop. The captivation that citites, neighbourhoods, homes have their own unique aroma. The confirmation that scents embed memories and connect us to place. Even if it is buried beneath the snow.


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Vivian Romero

I want to activate the urban imagined: stimulating, healthy and sustainable spaces for all (especially the young and young at heart).

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