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The water melon

by andinadia 

Posted: 22 December 2014
Word Count: 380
Summary: This is a Cairo story too. It's a very short (24 page!) picture book. Large green water melons are a feature of summer in Egypt, but they need to be served very chilled and have usually been cut up into chunks before serving on a communal plate. (It was published in Arabic.)

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Spread 1
Come with me ... look at this.
It's my water melon.
(a/w: boy aged about 4-5, facing through partly open door, looking back at us and gesturing to us. Through the doorway we can see the edge of a large water melon on a table.)

Spread 2
I chose it.
(a/w: At the market, boy with his father. Boy is pointing to a particular water melon in a pile of them)

Spread 3
I bought it.
(a/w: The father is holding the huge water melon. The boy is paying the money to the trader. It is clear that the father has given the boy the money.)

Spread 4
I carried it home.
(a/w: Father is carrying the water melon in front of him, with his arms wrapped around it. The boy is walking in front of the father, with one hand supporting the melon.)

Spread 5
This bit is for me ...
(a/w: Boy with water melon on table - same table as we saw in Spread 1 - drawing a line across the skin of the melon, with a marker pen.)

Spread 6
This is for Mum, and this is for Dad. And this bit is for Marwa.
(a/w: The boy's hand with the pen. He has divided up the melon into segments with the pen, and written each person's name, and drawn a picture of their face beside their name. We now see that his name is Adham.)

Spread 7
"Adham! What are you doing?"
(a/w: The mother enters and appears to be shocked at what the boy has done. He looks embarassed.)

Spread 8
"We're not going to eat that water melon."
"Why not, Mum?"
(a/w: Mother is carrying the water melon away. Boy looks sad.)

Spread 9
No words on this spread.
(a/w: Boy is sitting by himself on a chair, looking very sad. Gloomy colours)

Spread 10
(a/w: Mother in kitchen, all bright colours in the picture. She is opening the door of a tall fridge. Boy's little sister Marwa is with her, looking excited about something.)

Spread 11
... we're going to have this nice chilled one instead!"
(a/w: Mother enters with huge bowl of chunks of chilled water melon, followed by father and Marwa. Big smiles all round.)


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Comments by other Members

a.m.edge at 03:09 on 24 December 2014  Report this post
I like the first half of this - the rhythm of the lines and the way they connect with the pictures you describe - but I'm not so keen on the ending. It seems a bit 'mother knows best' and not very affirming for the boy. That's if I've understood it correctly. The boy chooses, buys and carries home a water melon, divides it up for his family and then it is rejected and the water melon that the mother takes from the fridge is eaten instead? I'm not sure about that.

andinadia at 09:45 on 24 December 2014  Report this post
Thanks, Annie. I see what you mean. It never occurred to me before. I suppose the strengths of the boy in my mind were his general enthusiasm, and his inventiveness in dividing up the melon. I possibly did overdo the negative scene, in the wordless spread. Overdoing the surprise/twist element at the expense of the affirmative. My son Adham is now 22. I'll ask him again what he thinks/thought!

I'm really interested to hear other people's views. 

A Happy Christmas to all

a.m.edge at 11:05 on 24 December 2014  Report this post
One could say that when we put love into the preparation of food - and present it to those we love - when it is refused, it is our offered love that is being rejected. One could also say that my interpretation is a load of rubbish. I have a silly story about a bat that I am working on (bat possibly triggered by your well story?) so will upload that soon.
Have a restful festive season one and all.

Bazz at 13:04 on 24 December 2014  Report this post
Hi, I also think the first half here works brilliantly, it's very simple yet very engaging. But there isn't really any sense of drama, and the first time that anything happens (she takes away the melon) he immediately gets the new melon. Could there be a couple more pages around spread 9, where he feels rejected, or wonders if he's done something wrong, he could get angry and think about smashing the melon, ultimately to decide to trust his mother, and then finds that trust rewarded...?

a.m.edge at 15:25 on 27 December 2014  Report this post
I meant to ask, what does a/w mean?

andinadia at 08:36 on 28 December 2014  Report this post
Thanks, Bazz. This is really interesting. Is this the opposite from Annie's comment? You want a greater 'low point' to the story, whereas Annie seemed to think it was a little too negative already.

The melon that Adham helped to buy was not rejected as such, as it will be eaten the next day when it has been chilled enough.

Hi Annie - a/w means 'artwork' smiley

Bazz at 13:04 on 28 December 2014  Report this post
Hi Andy,  I think what I was focusing on, is that this is a very well written piece, but it doesn't necessarily have any drama, or incident, and as such the ending as it is feels a little flat. i was just thinking this could be more tightly focused from the boy's point of view. What is he thinking, how is he affected, is there a small journey in this story, and what is it about?
But I do love the straightforward momentum of this, and I wouldn't want to over complicate it!

Freebird at 13:10 on 01 January 2015  Report this post
Sorry to come late to this. I think it's a brilliant example of how you only need very few words on each page and that the pictures speak volumes. I do agree, though, that it lacks a satisfying ending.
but I bet your son lived it regardless because it was all about him!

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