Parachute – a sweet story about feeling secure

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Whether your child’s security blanket is an actual blanket, a soft toy or even a parachute, this story is one to share.

Parachute, written by Danny Parker and illustrated by Matt Ottley, is the story of a little boy named Toby. Toby wears a parachute all the time. Apart from the fact that he finds it ‘useful for getting out of bed in the morning’ (climbing down from the top bunk can seem rather high….), Toby’s parachute is handy in dealing with all sorts of daily obstacles and challenges, whether they be in the playground or at home.

One day, Toby’s cat, Henry, gets stuck in a tree. Toby, on a rescue mission, climbs the tree and then gently lowers Henry to the ground in his parachute. With Henry safe, Toby suddenly finds himself alone and parachute-free. Although his imagination runs a little wild, Toby takes his descent step-by-step and makes it safely to the ground.

I don’t ordinarily like to give away the ending of stories however in this case, the sentimental words are too sweet not to share:

“As time passed, Toby needed his parachute less and less. And one day, he left it behind.”

Ottley’s illustrations are delicate and thoughtful, fitting for the sensitive subject matter. Importantly, he plays with perspective so that the things that loom large in Toby’s world at the beginning of the story – such as the bunk bed and an elephant at the zoo – are brought into new and more realistic perspective by the end.

Although told simply, the story has deeper messages about growing up, letting go of our ‘security blankets’ and perception of fears.

Parachute is suitable for children aged three and over. It’s available online at Fishpond.

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Katrina Whelen

Katrina studied planning and design, did the hard yards working in a big office building and then traded it all in for a relaxing (!) life at home with four children. She now fills her time with writing, completing a degree in genetics and taxiing her children around Melbourne to their various sporting commitments (not necessarily in that order).

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