I bought this book in Waterstones in Islington before my son was born. He was sitting there being made by his mum. She was at work, I was shopping.
I knew fark all about kids books but I decided to look about and saw this one with a boy and a penguin on the cover. I liked the artwork. I read it in the shop. I like penguins.
Dunno why, but I cried when I read it the first time. In the shop. Loss, finding people. Friendships. The page that STUCK in my head at the time, for whatever reason, was the one that said this;
‘That night, the boy couldn’t sleep for disappointment. He wanted to help the penguin but he didn’t know how.’
Sometimes you really want to help people, but you just don’t know how.
Because I only wanted the best for my children I bought the book in a box with the cuddly penguin with it. Cost me about £15 but so what eh? My now ex-wife said she could’ve got it through Ebay or Amazon for under a tenner.
So what, I bought it. Don’t tell me I’m wrong for doing so. Not for this. I wanted to buy it.
Three years pass.
I read it to my son last night. In his bedroom. He sat on my lap and I read the book to him.
At the end he said to me ‘What happened to the penguin daddy?’
‘He went back home with the little boy. They became friends.’
‘Am I the boy?’
‘No. You’re you.’
‘Are you the penguin Daddy? You seem lost.’
I asked him if he needed the toilet. He said ‘no. I’m fine’. I kissed him and wished him goodnight and sweet dreams. I told him I love him. I started to close the door.
‘You haven’t said you miss me Daddy. I miss you’ he said, not looking up from his train set.
‘I miss you son. Ffffffffffffflip I miss you. Goodnight and sweet dreams yeah?’
‘I love you Daddy.’
I closed the door and barely made it down the stairs because I was sobbing a soul out.