Tilly Tore Her Trousers: a haiku review

Tilly’s trousers tore.                                                                                                                               Sadness.  Mum to the rescue.                                                                                                                 The shorts she wanted first.

Tilly Tore Her Trousers, by Christel Ceraline, is a simple story of a little girl who wanted shorts.  She got trousers instead.  They become her favorite trousers.  And then they rip.  Tilly is deviated, until her Mum comes to the rescue.  With a little work on the sewing machine, the torn trousers become the shorts that Tilly wanted in the first place.

In Chinese, crisis and opportunity are the same word.  In one of my favorite Simpsons episodes, Lisa explains this to Homer.  “Of course,” he replies, “crisitunity!”  Ceraline’s book is a smart adaptation of that silly compound word.

The illustrations are computer generated graphic designs.  The technique works well in this book.  The simplicity of the design helps children understand how each image compliments the story without any distracting details.  It’s good for early readers who rely on the images to support their understanding of the text.  The author uses text sparingly as well.  And the combined effect is to drive home the lesson of the book through a simple story:  “Every misfortune in life has a bright side,” as the book cover says.

I think this would be a great book for hyper-reactive kids who are easily upset when bad things happen to their “stuff”.  Tilly Tore Her Trousers is a real “stop-and-think” teaching tool that helps kids see beyond an immediate loss.  More, it empowers them to remediate a loss with their imaginations.  I’d highly recommend this book SpEd teachers who specialize in children with behavioral and emotional disorders.  But it’s a good book for any early reader who might need a dose of self-reliant optimism.



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