14 February 2011

The City

by Armin Greder

Allen and Unwin. Australian, Picture Book. Hardcover RRP $29.99

Reviewer – Sandy Fussell

I found The City a difficult book to review because reviews need words and when I closed the cover I found myself speechless and wordless.

This is the story of a mother and child. The world is a scary place and it is human nature to protect our young ones. But where do we draw the line? To learn they must be exposed to the mortal dangers and all so they can grow through experience.

The City has many dark images and words that match perfectly. My favourite is a double page of crows with the simple words: “One moonless night she died.” Another dark double page spread shows a wolf’s face preceded by another beautifully simple string of words: “One day the night suppressed him.” The child-man finally confronts his future alone.

This is a powerful picture book that defies any further categorisation. It is a story to be read to primary children; read by secondary students it will promote discussion of text, art and then. It is also a story for adults and as a parent I found a message in it just for me.

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