Friday, 13 January 2012
I came across this book on the excellent Kids Book Review a few months ago, and searched it out at my library. I'm so glad that I did. It's an astonishing read.
European picture books sure can pack a punch. Somehow they have a different sensibility. Right from the first page.
Wow. Not just about bunnies, or lost toys then.
This book deals with the raw grief and numb period after the loss of a mother. Her husband and son are left to cope with her loss. Her son is angry. At his mother for dying. He's sad. And he's upset about many things, that he might forget how his mother felt and sounded, that his father doesn't know how he likes his toast, cut in half with the honey in a zigzag, the way that his mother knew.
He's upset that his mother is gone, and won't be coming back. That the radio isn't on of a morning, and he doesn't smell the coffee brewing (that's actually a good thing in my book!). That his mother isn't there to comfort him after he grazes his knee.
It's a powerful and moving book about a boy moving through grief. The redness of the book helps reinforce that I think. The illustrations are strong too. Ultimately of course life must go on, and the boy and his father have to find their way, without their wife and mother.
An Illustrated Year is hosted by An Abundance of Books.