Sunday February 21, 2016

Children's book 'Over-scheduled Andrew' parodies our love of activities

Ashley Spires' s eleventh book, Over-scheduled Andrew, tackles a modern day problem

Ashley Spires' s eleventh book, Over-scheduled Andrew, tackles a modern day problem (Manusha Janakiram/CBC)

Listen 8:11

People are busy these days.

It's a feature of modern life for adults and children alike, but there are some people who arguably are a bit too busy. 

Those observations prompted children's author and illustrator Ashley Spires to create Over-scheduled Andrew, a tale of a small grey chickadee who loves acting so much he joins the drama club. Soon, he joins the debate club, the chess club, and before he knows it, Andrew is also taking ballet and karate classes. While he is admittedly quite tired, he still manages to eke out a few minutes a day to play with his friend, but that wanes too as he gets involved with tennis, French film, and bagpipes.

Eventually, and somewhat unsurprisingly, Andrew's busy schedule leads to him sleeping through the one activity he loves the most - the big drama performance. He realizes it's time to make a change to his over-scheduled life, gives up everything except the two activities he loves the most, and finds time to play with his long lost friends again. 

"I used to go home from school and have a snack, but it's a different world now," says Spires, adding that regardless of where she goes in the country, she sees children missing out on time where they can relax, explore, and create. 

Spires admits she can't prescribe the right balance for any child, but she does hope Andrew's cautionary tale serves as a reminder to both child and parent about what is at stake when days become too scheduled. 

Click on the blue button above to listen to Ashley Spires' conversation with Jim.