The interesting art in this picture book, resembling linocut pictures with scratching, is what first impelled me to choose it from the many books on display on the library bookshelves. Accomplished illustrator Bruce Whatley has actually used a computerized digital technique to achieve this effect. The result is very successful, adding layers of meaning to the words.
The phenomenon of small fishing villages and subsistence farming disappearing and being replaced by cities is not new. But in this book the theme has been given more hope. A grandfather who finds it difficult to adjust to new city ways and apartment living, discovers a solution with his grandson and neighbors. Here is a very positive message for young people when much of what they hear about the environment is doom and gloom.
Family, love, environment, and resilience are all themes in the book.
Simple language used along with the themes and illustrations give an overall fable-like quality to the book.
Read on and enjoy this wonderful new book, for children age 5 and older, from acclaimed author Christopher Cheng.
Jane Fagan worked as a children’s and reference librarian for 14 years. She has a B.A. and a Grad Dip Library and Information Studies from Melbourne University.