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You're Snug With Me h/c

You're Snug With Me h/c You're Snug With Me h/c You're Snug With Me h/c You're Snug With Me h/c

You're Snug With Me h/c back

Chitra Soundar & Poonam Mistry


Page 45 Review by Stephen

YOU’RE SNUG WITH ME boasts the same striking emphasis on patterns as YOU’RE SAFE WITH ME, but with a more radiant colour scheme full of bright purples and cream as befits the snow-bound Arctic. Like the most magnificent woolly jumper, there are distinct rhythms of lines, dots and triangles arranged with an intuitive understanding of the forms they delineate. There are shapes within shapes like those whole animals you’d so satisfyingly slot in between smaller, interlocking pieces in a wooden Early Learning jigsaw puzzle. Over and again, the geometric is rendered organic while the colours keep it all cosy.

The mother bear’s den is a perfect example, the opening image of the cubs nestled snugly head-to-toe inside her womb. She hugs herself calmly, contentedly, assuredly, while outside we see nature taking its inevitable, uninterrupted seasonal course. All is as it should be, and all will be well. So long as we maintain the balance.

Just as the colours inside Mama Bear are overwhelmingly clay-warm and cream-bright but balanced by cooler purples and white, so without the descending, sharp icy blues are complemented, being cushioned by softer masses and sweeping contours below, while the bulrush shapes glimpsed outside offer the hope of something less shivery to come. Then, when those cubs are born, there’s a warm welcome tongue too, as the cubs laze, forelegs first, over their rotund mum’s tum.

“As winter turned colder, the cubs explored their frozen den. “Mama, what lies beyond here?” they asked.
“Above us is a land of ice and snow,” said Mama Bear. The cubs shivered.
“Don’t be afraid,” said Mama Bear. “The drifts bring us hard snow, so we can safely walk this land.”
“Can we wander where we please?” asked the cubs.
“Only where the land will let us walk,” Mama Bear replied. “But hush now, you’re snug with me.””

Like Tove Jansson’s THE MOOMINS AND THE GREAT FLOOD and Francesca Sanna’s THE JOURNEY, this pays tribute to the sometimes self-sacrificial role of the mother in reassuring her children when perhaps not sure herself. SNUG comes with a similar lullaby refrain to SAFE’s and the structure of inquisitive youngsters’ fearful questions about their wider surroundings being reassured. But here a new note of caution is introduced by way of the qualifiers: “Only Where...” “As Long As...”

“Don’t be afraid, said Mama Bear. “As long as the ice stays frozen, we will never go hungry.”
“Will the ice melt?” asked the cubs.
“Only if we don’t take care of it,” Mama Bear replied. “But hush now, you’re snug with me.”

Narrative context aside, these caveats are aimed not at the cubs, obviously, but at ourselves. I don’t think we can in all good conscience accuse the Polar Bear community of compromising their Arctic environment, nor rely on them to fix that which we have so royally... endangered.

This poignant picture book is so desperately timely. We’re never alone, but it’s not all ours; and we should only take what we need.