Review: Under The Same Sky

If you're the type to pick a picture book by its cover, you'll find it hard to walk past Under the Same Sky. Its sumptuous velvety blue cover is bedecked with shining rose gold stars in the same glinting foil as the looping title. Stars shoot through the night sky although we don't yet know what they might portend.

Once inside we are plunged into the worlds of two young children who despite living on opposite sides of the world share a common wish - to share their lives as friends. It's an immense concept, wanting and waiting for someone when you are so very far away from them. This story about a city-dwelling nameless boy and countryside nameless girl, explores the desire to reduce distance with metaphoric reality.

The boy draws on figurative comparison - like the sun and moon...always seeking...the sky and the sea...always apart - in an effort to understand his situation. The longing is always there but so is the separation until realisation dawns and with a bit of creativity and the pull and push of the universe, surprises eventuate.

This is a tender story of reaching out, exploring possibilities, and fashioning hope into solutions. It honours friendship in the loudest of ways with whisper quiet narrative and soft tender brushstrokes. Vescio allows galaxies of space for Johnston to work her admirable magic, never overstating the the story or the characters' yearning, permitting us to soak up every sublime detail of Johnston's heart-melting illustrations. Many spreads are flooded with sweeping open space cultivating feelings of endlessness and distance so effectively, we can almost feel the course of the ocean breeze against our cheeks.

Under the Same Sky
suggests we are all the same and that we needn't live next door to one another to enjoy true enduring friendship. As the gorgeous sub-characters portray, we might be chicken lovers or fans of pigeons but deep down our shared desire to soar above prejudice and difference is what ultimately brings us closer together. An outstanding creation from a new picture book duo.

Title: Under The Same Sky  
Author: Robert Vescio
Illustrator: Nicky Johnston
Publisher: New Frontier Publishing, $24.99
Publication Date: September 2019
Format: Hardback
ISBN: 9781925594676
For ages: 3 – 6
Type: Picture Book

Buy the Book: Booktopia, Boomerang Books


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