The Book That Made Me: Philip Reeve 16/10/19
The Little Island
Publisher: Andersen Press
Down on the farm the animals live and work together, but the geese have decided they would be better off alone. They don’t want the other animals in their way; they remember life as being better before they came. To the other animals’ disappointment, the geese break down the bridge that connects the two parts of the farm. But island life turned out to be much harder than the geese expected, and they soon realise the other animals they complained about had, in fact, been a great help to them.
When the sly foxes come swimming over there are no animals to protect the geese and they are forced to cry for help. Luckily, the animals don’t hold grudges and they all work together to restore the bridges and reunite the two parts of the farm.
This animal fable simplifies some big political ideas, but the story isn’t complicated by heavy language or complex plots. The geese learn their lesson without too much suffering and the animals are quick to come to their rescue. There is humour and warmth, and the bright illustrations will really appeal to even the youngest readers.
The message here is that compassion for others and strength in togetherness is what makes us thrive. The Little Island may raise as many questions as it answers, but that’s precisely why global ideas should be introduced to children at such a young age.