The Book That Made Me: David Almond 20/03/19
The Wall in the Middle of the Book
Publisher: Scallywag Press
A knight approaches one side of a red brick wall that runs up the centre of this picture book; some wild animals approach the other side. The knight seems to think that the wall keeps him safe, but is it really a good thing to have it there? Because while the knight is imagining all the dangers on the other side of the wall (in particular, a scary ogre), the water on his side is rising and threatening to drown him. Fortunately, the ogre proves kinder than the knight expected.
Jon Agee is a well-known picture book author-illustrator in the US and this deceptively simple concept about walls, and what they keep in and out, is exceptionally well executed. Agee’s subtle illustration is a little reminiscent of Maurice Sendak, and his ogre is delightfully expressive.
There’s just the right feeling of peril and strangeness in the book, which will enable young readers to realise what’s going on and identify with the kind ogre just at the right time. A very topical book that will nonetheless be of perennial interest for illustration fans and those looking for a thought-provoking, simple book about relating to others.