Tuesday, April 12, 2016
Hector and Hummingbird by Nicholas John Frith
Rating: 4 stars
Arthur A. Levine Books
"Deep in the mountains of Peru lived a bear called Hector and a hummingbird called Hummingbird," this book begins. "They were the best of friends. Mostly."
Bear and Hummingbird were grand pals but they were total opposites in one main way: Bear was an animal of few words and appreciated the sanctity and peace in silence. Hummingbird was a total chatterbox, and he had a tendency to copy whatever Bear is doing.
If Bear ate a custard apple, Hummingbird realized what a great idea that was, and talked all about which custard apple he was going to eat. If Hector scratched his back on a tree, Baloo-style, Hummingbird sang the praises of a good idea and scratched the feathers on his back while chirping how great it felt. If Hector decided to take a little nap, Hummingbird lay down next to him and chatted about how great it'd be if they napped together.
But suddenly, Bear has had ENOUGH.
"ARRGH!! Leave me ALONE!" he bellowed. And stomped off into the jungle to get some peace and quiet.
Hummingbird drooped, and he decided he should not follow Bear. Mostly.
Of course he does, and of course we adult readers can predict the ending: Bear was at first elated to be on his own, but the feeling got stranger and stranger, and the quiet got louder and louder and he realized he really missed Hummingbird. He admitted this to himself, out loud, and out pops Hummingbird, thrilled to be wanted again.
This is a great story with a big old lesson for big readers and little listeners alike: The very quirks that drive you batty in those you love are the ones you'd miss the most. So love the quirks in the friend, too. Mostly.