Brothers from a Different Mother
Penguin Viking 2017
32pp., hbk., RRP $A19.99
Tapir lives in the jungle and Pig lives in the village but they meet at a common waterhole where they each go to play. W brothers or sisters of their own, they recognise they are similar but different but the differences don’t stop them eventually playing together, having fun swimming, chasing butterflies, wallowing in the mud and looking for yummy things to eat. They decide they are brothers from a different mother.
But when their fathers discover they are playing with each other, they are forbidden to mix with each other – simply because they are pig and tapir and thus different. Pig and Tapir are very unhappy and lonely and so they decide to disobey their fathers. Tapir heads for the village while Pig goes to the jungle, each meeting with opposition to their search but determined to forge on. And when they do meet up, all the fun is back on again as they wallow in the mud. But then their fathers come looking for them..
Superbly illustrated, this is a tale that reflects what happens in the schoolyard with kids all the time. They look for similarities not differences and friendships are as diverse as the children. Racist, ethnic, religious, economic and social differences are not part of their perspectives – those are concepts imposed on them by adults. Using a saying that is currently popular amongst close friends, Gwynne has brought to life its true meaning and as well as creating a charming story he has offered a great springboard for discussions about acceptance, tolerance, diversity, inclusivity and understanding as our children encounter all these things every day in the playground. One might suggest that there are adults in this world who could learn more from this story than their children.