Sarah Bee, Satoshi Kitamura, The Yes
Published 2014 by Andersen Press, 32p
One of the real challenges for me as a parent is to have an active role in my daughter’s abstract and metaphorical thinking development. We often play with concepts and create stories around them but nothing compares to using her curiosity and her love for books as essential instruments.
I was happy to find Sarah Bee’s book and read it both as an unusual, playful story about being positive and also as an allegory on the abstract notions of Yes and No, strongly connected to I do/ I can versus I do not/ I cannot.
Satoshi Kitamura’s illustrations are exceptional. The Yes is represented as a big orange three-legged creature that leaves the nest to explore the Where. But the Where was an endless place of Nos, mosquito-like representations which all stay together in flocks and try to intimidate the Yes.
The Nos swarmed around the Yes in a thick cloud of no and said all the nos there ever were.
“No, too big.”
“No, too tall.”
“No, too silly.”
“No, you’ll fall.”
The Yes defies the tactics and the threatening of the Nos and chooses confidence which is hard to build but extremely fulfilling and self-sufficient. The self-confidence is about the value of the self and the Yes is large while the Nos are flimsy and insubstantial.
The Yes only yessed in all his goodness and bigness and yessness…The Yes went up, and up, until the noise of the Nos in their no-ness and notness grew smaller and smaller, and fainter and fainter, until there was no more no and never had been. There was only the Yes.
The Yes is a happy creature and embodies the determination, the multiple possibilities, the goodness and the independence we all need in our lives.