Sunday 14 July 2019

Over the Rooftops, Under the Moon

Over the Rooftops, Under the Moon by JoArno Lawson, illustrated by Nahid Kazemi (Enchanted Lion) HB RRP $27.99 ISBN9781 92702626

Reviewed by Dianne Bates

With a jacket cover, this beautifully designed and illustrated picture book uses abstract themes which might be difficult for young children to comprehend. There are few words in this story which features a bird with an unusual appearance. At the start of the book, the bird is alone. The words read: ‘You can be far away inside, and far away outside. With others, but still on your own…’

The message of this book is that of the journey towards self-understanding. The bird gains an understanding of itself as it explores the world, taking in people and places. Along with the sparse, lyrical language of the book are illustrations which are eye-catching and compelling, from the bird in a pumpkin patch to a night street scene and beyond. ‘Colour arrives, sometimes when you least expect it’, reads the text: accordingly, the bird’s plain feathers are suddenly brightly coloured. ‘But then snow falls’.

As you move through life, the story implies, there are moments of rejoicing and other times when life changes and people flee. But eventually, as in this book, you are ‘inside and out, alone and together.’

This is a truly lovely book especially for its illustrations which are detailed and exquisite, cleverly extending the theme of the story.

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