My Bright Friend
My Bright Friend
The boy returned home. This time he dreamed that his parents were back together in their country house and that the little traffic-light man was there too.
Boulerice’s imaginative story of Ludo follows him from the country into the city to share time with his father after his parents separate. He feels lonely and sad as he has not yet made any friends at his father’s new apartment. Mesmerized by the sounds of the city streets, Ludo takes to watching the traffic light change to pass the time and to take his mind off the challenges of the changes in his life. When Ludo asks his father how the light changes, his father suggests that a small, patient man is responsible.
His father’s response causes Ludo to dive deeply into his imagination and to create a make-believe friend to help him feel less alone in the new environment. With this idea of a small man living inside the lamppost and changing the traffic lights as the cars and pedestrians cross the busy street, Ludo “chats” with the man and takes him snacks of toast - relish (for the green light), marmalade (for the yellow light), and strawberry jam (for the red light). Ludo finds comfort in the man’s understanding of his feelings and offers to give him a break so he can stretch his legs. His new friendship makes him look forward to returning to the city as the end of the story sees Ludo leaving to stay with his mother in the country again.
The colourful and moody illustrations by Marilyn Faucher help to bring the emotions of this story to life and explore the difficult changes that come from a parental separation. The choice of colour brings to life the changing day and night as well as complementing the references to green, yellow, and red traffic lights.
In a time where family structures are changing and children often are not sure how to deal with their big emotions and feelings of loneliness in new situations, this whimsical story is a welcome addition to early childhood literature. Boulerice’s kind and gentle approach gives children an opportunity to share their thoughts and feelings about changes in their life and how they can navigate these changes.
Amy E Dickerson has been teaching since the autumn of 2013 and is presently working as a Differentiated Learning Resource Teacher in Callander, Ontario.