Arto’s Big Move

Arto has lived his whole life in the snowy, cold North, and six years is a long time. When his mom gets a new job and the family prepares to spend a year in the South, Arto is not happy at all. He decides that he’s just going to act as if he never moved. In the new Southern landscape of prickly plants, strange birds and a big, hot sun, Arto stubbornly dons his winter uniform of boots, mittens, coat, and hat, day after day. It’s worth the stuffy, sweaty, overheated feeling if he can pretend he’s still in the North.

One thought on “Arto’s Big Move

  1. Holly Johnson says:

    Moving on from Shh! We Have a Plan, is Arto’s Big Move (Arnaldo, 2014), a delightful book from Canada that, on the surface, presents a simple story of a young boy’s rebellion at moving from his home. Arto, who loves the cold, snow, and winds of the North, is not happy when the family moves to the Southwest for a year. In rebellion, Arto refuses to remove his winter gear, but then discovers he cannot stay outside too long in the hot weather. Sweltering in his winter clothing, Arto has made his stand against this craziness of his parents, but he is also engaging in some pretty crazy behavior himself—and suffering because of it. Lonely for several weeks, Arto is eventually approached by Ana, a classmate who invites him to play. Arto begins to shed his additional layers of clothing, and then one day Ana gives him a wide-brimmed hat to shade his face, allowing him to see more clearly. He no longer has to squint in the bright sun. Racing home to share his hat with his parents, Arto notices the moving boxes once more . . .
    This is a wonderful book to use across all ages because it allows any reader to think about what we do in rebellion that is, well, pretty ridiculous. I get taking a stand, but Arto’s behavior hurt mostly himself. The use of a wide-brimmed hat that allowed Arto to see is a great analogy—it lets Arto see more clearly and also represents a “giving into” that allows him to delight in his new environment. Becca, what did you think of this book?
    I loved this story. It is reminiscent of just how kids can be about change and newness. Arto’s facial expression on the front cover of the book is representative of how he approached the entire situation. Despite his parents’ endless attempts to help him adjust, he resisted. His cozy clothes appropriate for the North seem to represent the comfort of where he grew up; it is what he knows to be home. Once meeting kind and thoughtful Ana, he began to shed layers of clothing symbolic of shedding the old and allowing the new in. The hat you mentioned, Holly, that Ana gave him, becomes a piece of the South as he heads back home after the yearly is quickly up.
    I agree that this book could be appropriate for all ages as older readers could talk about the pieces we carry with us from particular parts of our journey, along with the ways in which we react to change or things we do not like or do not want to happen. There are a number of valuable lessons in this delightful story about Arto.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *