Peach and Blue
Sarah Kilborne and illustrated by Steve Johnson
When my children were very young we used to spend a week or two at Cape Cod along with my parents and my brothers and their families. My mother, a retired nursery school teacher made it a point to bring along a stack of new books each year to read at bedtime. She had an incredible knack for finding books that appealed not only to children but to their parents as well. One year, upon our arrival, I brought our bags into our room and discovered there, a beautifully illustrated book lying on the bed called Peach and Blue. The book, written by Sarah Kilborne and illustrated by Steve Johnson is a wonderful story about the companionship that develops between a blue toad and the peach he helps free on what will undoubtedly be her last day on this earth.
The story begins with a plea from Peach as she hangs from the branch of a tree looking down on the small blue toad. She asks Blue to help her detach herself from the tree so that she can see a bit of the world before she ends up being picked and baked into a pie. Blue obliges her and aware that she has no means of locomotion, builds a boat out of leaves and sticks so that he may guide her around the pond where he lives. Throughout the daylong tour of the pond, Peach experiences a new world of things that are all a part of Blue’s environment, many of which Blue notices for the first time, although they’ve been there all along.
The book is filled with colorful, detailed illustrations of the two characters as well as Blue’s aquatic domain and the birds and insects who are his neighbors. While the expiration date on Peach’s life looms closer with every paragraph, the book concludes exuding a sense of satisfaction rather than sadness. The message is one of acceptance: “Nothing is forever, but for now I have you and you have me.”