'The best books, reviewed with insight and charm, but without compromise.'
- author Jackie French

Monday 4 July 2011

Review: No!

Sometimes a book comes along that causes bumps in the road. Large, emotional bumps, tear-pricking eyes, lumps in the throat.

Almost wordless, other than the text from a very important letter and the utterance of ‘NO’, this truly gorgeous book opens on a young lad writing a letter, licking the stamp, slipping on this coat, and walking to the mailbox.

On the way down the street to the mailbox, the young lad passes war. There’s tanks. There’s aircraft dropping bombs. There’s soldiers stealing the lives of families. There’s policeman oppressing the voice of men. There’s even a young bully slapping a hat from the head of a little boy on his way to post a very important letter.

But most of all what there is in this book is the utterance of that aforementioned word. NO! And at just the right time. Said with conviction, indignation, strength and pride, that single, powerful world not only halts the bully, it's impactful enough to change the course of the war.

As the young lad walks back home, the horror he’s seen is reversing itself. People are being kind, generous, supportive, loving. How did this happen? Very simple. Someone stood up and said no.

Narrated by a series of beautifully-rendered, vintage-style illustrations, this is a must-read for children of all nationalities and ages. Its message is poignant and beautiful and oh so sane. Author McPhail wrote No! in support of Amnesty International – an organisation who says No! to the violation of human rights the world over. An organisation whose many supporters include children.

This book ends with a glimpse at the VIP letter this young lad wrote. I won’t spoil it for you.

Powerful stuff.

Title: No!
Author/Illustrator: David McPhail
Publisher: Frances Lincoln Children’s Books, $29.95 RRP
Publication Date: April 2011
ISBN: 9781847801203
Format: Hard cover
For ages: 3+
Type: Picture Book