Turtle lives in the city with his mum, in a busy apartment building, building 24. Turtle’s mum has asked him to go and get a list of things from the shops, and he has to hurry because he doesn’t want to be late.
Turtle piles into the lift with the many other busy residents of building 24, in a rush to start their day with appointments or work. Although all the residents live in the same building, they don’t take time to talk to each other, just a simple nod of the head.
Suddenly the lift stops, and they are all stuck together in the lift! As they all start complaining about the appointments and work they will be late for, little Turtle bursts into tears, and tells everyone it is his birthday.
This silences everyone, and makes them think, and together, the other characters in the lift use what they have with them in the lift, to give Turtle a special birthday party, while they wait for help to arrive. They are no longer concerned about their own matters.
Building 24 will never be the same, as the residents discover the joy in being friendly and neighbourly, and making time for each other in our busy lives.
Do you know your neighbours where you live, and have you said “hello” before?
Sue deGennaro is the illustrator of 20 picture books, 4 of which she has also written. “The Pros and Cons of Being a Frog” was the first picture book she wrote and illustrated.
Sue created the illustrations for “We’re stuck” using ink, pencil and collage.
When being asked whether there are specific themes that Sue returns to when writing picture books, she says:
“Yes, I am always writing stories about being misunderstood. I am really curious about how our actions affect others and how it is so impossible to read the internal landscape of another person. The underdog in my stories really just want to be loved and seen. A very common human condition.”
This is definitely apparent in “We’re Stuck” with little Turtle in the lift, and the other characters being completely unaware it is his birthday, and how upset Turtle becomes when they all get stuck in the lift.