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

Sunday 14 July 2019

Review: Window of Hope

Oh! What a glorious, emotional, quiet story, with a strong message that goes straight to the heart.

Window of Hope is the perfect title for this story. You know instantly that something is not right with Max because she is viewing the world from her window, but you equally know from the title, that everything will be okay by the end of the story.

The reason for Max's isolation is slowly revealed upon the arrival of  a little one legged bird. Max thought, 'The bird is broken...' and wondered, 'Is the bird sad...'.

However, the bird didn't act broken. It sang and danced. The bird was able to pick itself up when it fell over and fly again. Max began to feel hope and opened her heart to the little bird and life outside of her bedroom window.

Robert Vescio's words weave a wonderful story about how even with a disability life is still open to possibilities. His story uncovers the deep emotions created by disability. Vescio conjures the isolating nature of disability by placing Max in her bedroom with the window being a barrier between her and children from the outside world. He parallels the open window and letting the bird inside to the vulnerability of opening your heart and mind to a world of opportunities.   

These emotions and messages are accompanied by the breath taking illustrations of Demelsa Haughton. Her style creates a mood that is wistful, soft and gentle. Her illustrations of Max's eyes is like a doorway to her soul; sadness, despair, loneliness, hope and joy.

Haughton has a way of adding little details into the illustrations that gives us more. The dreams of a girl are echoed in the origami birds hanging on the wall. Then later a sheet draped between Max's arms, gives her wings that could help her fly, a symbol of soaring hope and freedom.

It is also the things that illustrators leave out of the pictures that can inform readers and create mood. Max's room is devoid of many objects one expects to find in a child's room, there are no toys or pictures on the wall or clutter, creating a feeling of sparseness like a hospital room where she can feel '...safe and conformable...'

Window of Hope encourages readers to be brave and step out of the safe and comfortable place, so you can discover a world of endless possibilities.

More stories by Robert Vescio include The Box Cars and Finn and Puss. For another heart touching story illustrated by Demelsa Haughton, read Ella.

Title: Window of Hope
Author: Robert Vescio
Illustrator: Demelsa Haughton
Publisher: Little Pink Dog Books, $24.95
Publication Date: 1 July 2019
Format: Hard Cover
ISBN: 9780648256366
For ages: 4+
Type: Picture Book