Thursday, April 25, 2019

Review: The Wall in the Middle of the Book

The Wall in the Middle of the Book The Wall in the Middle of the Book by Jon Agee
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

So, there is a wall in the middle of the book.

I read this as an ebook; I assume that in the print book, the wall is in the middle/gutter of the book.

The person telling the story is on the right; and the reader can see on both sides of the wall, while those in the story cannot. This is a book where the images add to the story, so that the reader sees things the knight doesn't, reaches their own conclusions.

On the left, a knight, repairing the wall and talking about how the wall protects him. On the other side, animals. As the knight talks about the danger on the other side of the wall, and as we see animals and then an ogre, on the knight's side there is water slowly rising -- and the knight doesn't realize at first the danger -- and then some scary, dangerous things in the water.

It's clear that protection the wall provides is an illusion; that the knight sees danger on the other side, ignoring the danger on his own side. It's a children's book -- eventually (spoilers) the knight realizes the danger he is in, is forced to go to the other side, and realizes things are pretty good over there.

One weird observation, though. In making the point that we fear the other; that we don't see the danger in what we are familiar with; that danger can creep up on you; there is also the point that those we fear may be the ones we go to for safety. That we may become the refugees. And... at the end... while the knight was wrong that "the other side" was dangerous, by the end of the story, there is one side of the wall that contains danger (the rising waters and dangerous sea creatures). It's not about two sides wrongly fearing each other; it's about being mistaken about which side to fear.

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