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

Monday 22 May 2017

Review: Boy

This is the tale of a village, a king and his knights, and a dragon.

Perhaps more importantly, it's also the tale of a young boy who teaches everyone how to live in peace and without fear.

The boy, who is never really named, cannot hear and communicates through his 'dancing hands' and by drawing pictures.

He's unusual in his community and they don't understand him, mostly ignoring him.

Boy and his family live in the village near where the king and his knights fight battles with the dragon that neither side wins.

Because he can't hear the fighting, Boy one day finds himself inadvertently caught in the middle of a battle. When he innocently asks why they are fighting, each gives a different answer.

Boy may not be able to hear them, but he can see what is going on, perhaps better than most. With his mediation they all work out how to live together 'without fighting and fear'.

The villagers are particularly grateful to Boy for his special skills in gaining them all a peaceful life.

Phil Cummings has created a beautiful, simple story about understanding each other and living together in harmony. Its inclusive themes must surely resonate with readers young and old.

The illustrations by Shane Devries have their own simplicity, but are far from simple. Take for example the clever use of speech bubbles with pictures in them instead of words, which seems really appropriate when telling a story about someone who cannot hear and speaks using visual rather than aural means.

I love this story. There's a sense of something gentle in both the words and pictures of Boy which has great appeal. Find yourself a copy and share it with someone today.

Title: Boy
Author: Phil Cummings
Illustrator: Shane Devries
Publisher: Scholastic Australia, $ 24.99
Publication Date: May 2017
Format: Hardcover
ISBN: 9781760277055
For ages: 4 - 8 years
Type: Picture book