Tuesday, March 3, 2015

The Umbrella by Ingrid and Dieter Schubert (Book Island)

The Umbrella

Written and Illustrated by
Ingrid and Dieter Schubert

Published by Book Island

We've championed many wordless picture books and have seen some real beauties over the last few years. It's a tricky format to get 'just right' and it must be a really tough challenge to script, illustrate and tell a story knowing that your young reader may need a guiding hand.
Or will they? You see the flip-side of why we love children's wordless picture books is because you can leave absolutely everything open to the interpretation of the child - letting them let loose their imagination to tell YOU the story in THEIR own way. So that's exactly what we did when 'reading' and reviewing "The Umbrella" by Ingrid and Dieter Schubert, a lavish new book from Book Island.

The tale opens right in the end papers with a dog discovering a bright red umbrella. It's the beginning of an aerial adventure as the intrepid pooch is lifted aloft by a gust of wind, high above the streets and houses, fields and forests and off to distant lands.

The doggy adventurer has near misses in Africa (watch out for those nasty crocodiles!), cruises underneath the waves in the ocean's briny depths, and narrowly avoids a nasty incident with some spear-throwing Amazonian warriors.

We took it in turns to tell the tale, and it was very revealing that while I adopted a fairy straight-laced retelling of the tale as I saw it, Charlotte really let loose her imagination and told a story more of the relationship between the dog (who was a big show off) and the cat who initially watches his 'friend' lifted aloft before embarking on his own perilous trip as the book comes to a close.

Books like this are vital and important for emerging readers, allowing them to develop their own storytelling dialogue and their own ways of interpreting what they're seeing. Hooray for wordless picture books and hooray for Ingrid and Dieter Schubert for coming up with such a brilliant adventure!

Charlotte's best bit: Charlotte loved the bit where the dog is rescued by a baby elephant and his mum, before being unceremoniously hurled off a cliff to resume his journey. Charming!

Daddy's Favourite bit: A luxurious and wonderfully presented story that leaves you and your children free to let your imagination soar, just like that intrepid little dog on his red umbrella. Lovely!

(Kindly sent to us for review by Book Island)