Review: The Wall in the Middle of the Book
At a glance, there is not much to this book. A brick wall is wedged in the gutter (middle) of the book with blank pages on each side of it. On closer examination, you'll notice a brick is missing on the left-hand-side of the wall. Supposedly, this is the better side of the book, so it's fortunate the wall is in the middle of the book, protecting it - so says the little knight, who armed with a suitably sized ladder, aims to replace the missing brick.
While all this is happening, we catch a glimpse of the other side of the book. It's full of predatory and fierce animals, rhinos, tigers and gorillas. They don't have ladders, just a natural curiosity to explore the other side of the wall, the safe side. They are not the most dangerous aspect of the right-hand-side side of the book though. The knight informs us that honour belongs to the ogre. Oh dear. Lucky for our knight there is a wall for if the ogre was on the other side, he would surely eat the knight.
Then a frightful thing happens to the knight's safe side of the book. A thing of great, unexpected, life threatening peril, that eventually finds him on the other side of the wall!! Does he survive or succumb to the clutches of the terrible orge? What is life really like on the other side of the book?
This postmodern picture book is at once hilarious and profound. It explores themes of self-awareness, tolerance and misguided pride. It's also a subtle commentary on the way misconceptions and fears can create insurmountable barriers, blocking us from understanding what is really going on, preventing us from enjoying the world as it really is around us; quintessentially about not judging others. It also demonstrates that illustrators cannot be trusted!
Clever, cute and pleasantly entertaining.
Title: The Wall in the Middle of the Book
Author: Jon Agee
Illustrator: Jon Agee
Publisher: Scholastic Australia, $16.99
Publication Date: April 2019
For ages: 4 – 8
Type: Picture Book
Buy the Book: Booktopia, Boomerang Books