That one thoughts can attain out from its lonely cave of bone and contact one other, specific its joys and sorrows to a different — that is the good miracle of being alive collectively. The article of human communication shouldn’t be the trade of knowledge however the trade of understanding. If we’re fortunate sufficient, if we’re attentive sufficient, communication then turns into a system for the switch of tenderness. That we’ve got invented so many types of it — the language of phrases, the language of music, the language of flowers — is a testomony to our elemental want for this trade.
A vibrant and immeasurably tender celebration of that want comes from French writer Élise Fontenaille and Spanish artist Violeta Lópiz of their beautiful collaboration On the Drop of a Cat (public library).
We meet a six-year-old boy simply studying to learn and write in his grandfather Luis’s home — a home Luis has constructed along with his personal arms, surrounded by a backyard filled with artichokes the scale of heads and inexperienced beans climbing into the sky — a backyard that “appears like a complete different world.”
By the little boy’s unjudging eyes, in illustrations as textured and layered as a life nicely lived, a loving portrait of Luis emerges — his inexperienced thumb and the best way he “speaks hen language,” his presents for portray and cooking, his many tattoos, his thick Spanish accent and his charming misuse of idioms: He calls his grandson “the apple of his pie” and loves the expression “on the drop of a cat,” of which the little boy is so fond that he continues utilizing it in class regardless of his trainer’s correction.
Because the portrait unfolds, we understand that Luis misuses idioms as a result of he has solely ever heard them spoken, in a international tongue: When he was a bit of boy himself, having spent his childhood working within the fields, he fled war-torn Spain and “crossed mountains and hills and the countryside till he bought to France.” He by no means went to high school, by no means realized to put in writing. As an alternative, he developed his personal language of belonging — a dwelling lexicon for feeling at dwelling within the dwelling world.
And that’s how Luis communicates along with his grandson — within the language of vegetation, within the language of work, within the language of affection.
They draw collectively within the backyard, forage within the meadow, and luxuriate in one another’s mild as Luis performs his guitar beneath the cherry tree.
Radiating from the pages is the good tenderness that blooms between the younger boy and the previous man as they attempt to perceive one another, to inhabit one another’s inside backyard.
The day comes when the kid reads a poem to his grandfather — he has lastly realized to learn and write, however he has additionally realized one thing else: that there are various languages of connection, every with its personal dignity and delight, every an outstretched hand reaching for an additional.
Couple On the Drop of a Cat with What Is Love? — a kindred reckoning with the consolations of connection, advised by means of the tender relationship between a toddler and a grandparent — then revisit The Forest — a love letter to our bond with the wilderness, additionally illustrated by Violeta Lópiz.