Monday, February 11, 2013
Farmer Enno and His Cow by Jens Rassmus
Rating: 5 stars
Children's books don't usually surprise me. Because they are written for, um... children, their endings are usually predictable. But when Ben and I read Farmer Enno and His Cow a few weeks ago, we stopped a few times to wonder out loud where the heck this tale was going. He liked the ending; I LOVED it.
Every night, Farmer Enno dreams. He dreams of being a captain on a ship, of riding high on waves and guiding his ship through the waters. And every morning when he wakes up, there is a boat like the one in his dream somewhere near him. At first these boats are small and manageable--but after months of dreaming and months of boat acquisitions, his bedroom is full of rowboats, tugboats, small ocean liners, sail boats, and one bewildered Farmer Enno.
Farmer Enno, Ben, and I scratched our heads together. Huh? We all wondered.
The next few nights, the boats appeared outside. Life-sized ships with masts sailing up towards the clouds! "This can't go on," Farmer Enno said to himself. So he walks to the village to find someone who could cure his strange ailment. Plenty were excited to hear his story and offer suggestions, though none could help him. And when he was told to dream in a sleep lab and the latest giant ship crashes through the side of the wall...well, he didn't exactly wait around for the diagnosis. He ran.
But he didn't run home. He ran towards the shore, thinking that if he again dreamed of sailing, at least the boat would land in water safely. When Farmer Enno reached the shore, he breathed it in. He closed his eyes and let the smell reach every part of him. He let the sounds fill his soul. He let the salty air fill his lungs, reaching a depth he never knew was possible. Until that moment. Exhausted, he lay down on the sand and slept.
But he didn't dream of boats. He had realized what his dream was: Now that he had seen the ocean, he didn't want to be a farmer. He couldn't be a farmer. He woke up he ran home, sold the farm, bought a real ship. He had to fulfill his dream.
Ben and I loved it.
(The words on the book's jacket are so great: "Here is a story about the dream that sometimes lives within each of us and will not let us rest until we have tried to make it real.")