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

Sunday 2 October 2016

Review: Don't Cross the Line!

Another wonderful pairing of Minhos Martins and Carvalho, Don't Cross the Line! is a cleverly conceived and expressed picture book that's not only beyond timely, it's actually a lot of fun to read.

The opening endpapers introduce us to a gaggle of people, from Marco and Silva through Lucas, Boo, Officer Amaral, Chico, Nuno and Izzy.

On the almost-blank opening spread, we see a solider waiting with a gun. Vivi the dog approaches and sniffs the gun, followed by a man, Nuno (I know because the endpapers told me).
As Nuno heads towards the gutter in the centre of the double page spread, the guard hollers 'STOP!' He then goes on to say he's very sorry, but NO ONE has ever been to the right hand page, and Nuno must stop right there.

Nuno is, quite naturally, confused. 'But why?' he asks. Is there some terrible danger? An invasion?

The soldier goes on to say that his General requires the right hand page to stay blank so that he can join in the story whenever he feels like it. Nuno, of course, thinks that's crazy.

Meanwhile, other people start appearing on the left hand page. They, too, are curious and confused. They want to go to the right hand page. Some need to make phone calls, others need to get work done. Even more just want to know what on earth is going on, and to walk wherever they like.

As the left hand page crams with people, a child's ball accidentally bounces to the right hand page. Some kids run over--and guess what, nothing bad happens.

Being a nice guy, the soldier allows everyone to start moving over--until, that is, the General arrives.

Uh-oh. What happens next??

This is an absolutely brilliant play on misplaced power and errant stupidity. It's about inclusion and rights and freedom, but it's also about the nonsensical ways people in power so often think. And yes it's also about having fun and not taking life so seriously.

Vibrant, niaive illustrations are an absolute joy. I hope you can join in the fun (while also learning something of vital importance along the way).

Title: Don't Cross the Line!
Author: Isabel Minhos Martins
Illustrator: Bernado Carvalho
Publisher: Gecko Press, $27.99
Publication Date: 1 October 2016
Format: Hard cover
ISBN: 9781776570744
For ages: 4 - 8
Type: Picture Book