Friday, November 7, 2014

The Big Question by Leen van den Berg and Kaatje Vermeire (Book Island)


The Big Question

Written by Leen van den Berg

Illustrated by Kaatje Vermeire

Published by Book Island

One of the reasons we really love Book Island is their tendency not to shy away from publishing longer children's picture books. Charlotte often gets quite annoyed if we cuddle up for a bedtime read, and the book we've chosen is over in five minutes flat.

No such worries with "The Big Question" which is a big, beautiful hardback book with a story that's more than long enough to get your teeth into.

It's the annual meeting of all the characters and animals that live in a magical blissful land. Turtle usually chairs the meetings, but turtle is ill so delegates chairmanship to wise Ant.

It's a daunting task, because each year the meetings ask big and difficult question - and this year's question is a doozy!

"What is love?"

As you'd expect, everyone in the story has an opinion. Snow White describes what love feels like when her prince kisses her. Others describe that feeling of overwhelming well being that comes with true love. Even the rocks describe what it's like when the one they love is next to them.

Ant listens patiently, as the tale weaves a wondrous combination of story and illustration that touches on the sublimely surreal. Reading it aloud, it feels poetic and dreamy. Ant brings us back down to earth with a thump though, as we get the impression that Ant really doesn't understand despite the amazing explanations from everyone gathered around. As they make their way home, Ant is left alone, none the wiser...

A modern fable with a really fantastic core message, "The Big Question" is touching heartfelt storytelling. Here's a challenge for you, ask your little one that big question and see what they come back with. It may well surprise you!

Charlotte's best bit: As Snow White is one of her favourite Disney characters, she was delighted to see her making an appearance in this story.

Daddy's Favourite bit: Like a modern-day Aesop's Fable, "The Big Question" doesn't shy away from a huge discussion topic of mighty importance. We absolutely loved the way the story evolves and the sublime artwork from Kaatje Vermeire helps to underpin the poetic tale perfectly

(Kindly sent to us for review by Book Island)

3 comments :

  1. This looks so beautiful! Just my kind of book—thanks for posting!

    ReplyDelete
  2. I'm so pleased to see this review. I have just picked up a library copy of this amazing book today and have sat for a long time thinking about it. It's great to hear how it was received in your house. My blog shares picture books that make great read-alouds for an audience of preschoolers or young school-age kids and I'm just not sure if this one fits the bill. Perfect one-on-one but for an audience? Hmmm... not sure. I could be persuaded otherwise though!

    ReplyDelete
  3. I love the fact that it is definitely one of those sorts of books that works with just you and your kids plopped on your lap. I do love reading aloud to a bigger audience but some books just seem to be 'cuddle' books and this is definitely one of them. Love the fact that there's a ton of scope for acting different characters and parts between you and your children once they learn to read.

    ReplyDelete

Your comments mean A LOT to us. Please drop a comment in this lovely box!

Spammers, don't even go there, we delete your comments and links instantly.