Day 257: The Safe Place

The Safe Place
Matt Zurbo


(Image of a book, left partially open, standing on its own. Its title: The Safe Place.)

(Boy running into the book, which is about ten foot tall.)

“Hi, welcome to the Safe Place,” the Penguin told the boy.
(Boy coming to a startled stop in front of a talking penguin. Walls inside book so that it looks like a room, are made of other books. There are piles of books everywhere. The desk is a pile of books, so is the seat. The photos on the wall are books such as Mr Men and Whinny the Poo and Mem Fox’s Where is the Green Sheep.)

“Relax, catch your breath.”
(Boy with hands on knees, puffing. Penguin putting concerned flipper on boy’s back.)

“Why are you hiding?,” the penguin asked.  
(Boy pulling one book out from pile of books that make the cupboard. Where the Wild Things Are.)

“Was somebody mean? Were people cruel, do they hurt you?”
(Penguin following boy through room, as boy leans down to pull a book from pile of them that makes the footrest. Robin and the Pirates.)

“Did somebody or something die? Were you lonely, scared?
(Penguin following boy as he reads Ronald Dahl and walks.)
“Are things at home bad?”

“Not that it matters! That’s why this is the Safe Place!”
(Penguin holding flippers up in the air. Boy, book in hand, a bit taken back. Book is The Hungry Caterpillar.)
“Nobody will judge you here. You’re SAFE!”

“You can be wherever you read about!”
(Boy, sitting, legs crossed on table of books, reading I Ate My Friend, while penguin talks. Octopus behind boy, lounging out of shelf in set of draws, reading The Owl and the Pussycat.)

“You can meet whoever – or whatever – you want!”
(Penguin opening cupboard of books’ door, various large creatures and smiling monsters, and dragons from various books, poking their head out.)

“Hang out with them, even…”
(Boy, still on desk, legs dangling over side, surrounded by the characters from Possum Magic, and the Magic Pudding.)

“Make up your own stories…”
(Boy in a tug-of-war with Old Tom, over a Billie B Brown book.)

“You can even be whatever you read about!”
(Boy now dressed as the Cat in the Hat, swinging from light above table, book of same name open face-down on table.)

“As I said; YOU’RE SAFE!”
(Boy, jumping around in small puddles of mud with Dirty Dinosaur.)

“Ahh, I bet you’re wondering what’s through there…”
(Boy, head titled, looking at only window in the room. Window frame made of books. Its other side is dark. Penguin watching him while talking.)

“Every story you ever read…”
(Boy and Penguin looking at cardboard character rabbits and moon, acting out a scene from Guess How Much I Love You.)

“You can think and do whatever you want in here…”
(Boy, penguin, and all the characters from Alice in Wonderland, dancing.)

“You can come to the Safe Place as much as you like!”
(Boy reading Jungle Book. Characters from book behind him, reading, too. Where’s Wally in amongst them.)

(Penguin to boy, now not dancing.)

“You can’t stay.”
(Boy startled. Penguin pointing flipper at him. Story characters hiding behind doors, under table, window frame, etc…)

“The Safe Place can give you a chance to catch your breath, give you peace, confidence, a reason to smile, imagination, warmth, hope… friendship at times… strength…”
(Penguin on ladder, throwing books over shoulder into shopping trolley boy is standing in front of/holding. Trolley has little hairy monsters in it.)

“But without the real world, the Safe Place wouldn’t exist.”
(Penguin pushing book open. Boy watching, as light from outside world comes in.)

And without the Safe Place, the real world might not be so sweet…
(Boy walking out of book/into light. Penguin waving good-bye.)

“Remember; We need your help. Live life and stories will follow!”
(Penguin calling. leaning out of book’s pages, waving goodbye.)

“Hurry back soon! We’re all much flatter when you’re not about…”
(Book on its own, like at start.)



The End

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