Review: Wall by Tom Clohosy Cole

wall

Wall by Tom Clohosy Cole

When the Berlin Wall was built, a boy was separated from his father who was on the other side.  His mother told him that his father was in a place where life was better.  They were not allowed to leave their side of Berlin.  The boy dreamed of his father coming and rescuing them, but he knew that was unlikely to happen.  So he started to plan ways to get past the wall himself.  Other people tried to get past the wall, many of them died in their attempts.  But it was worth the risk to see his father once again, so the boy started digging out in the woods near the wall.  When the tunnel was ready, the boy led his family to it, but along the way they were stopped by a soldier.  Would this be the end of their brave journey to reunite their family?

Cole captures the separation and division caused by the Berlin Wall.  He also clearly shows the fierce drive of a family to reunite and be together once again.  Told in very simple sentences, the book relies on its fine artwork to carry the story.  It is the art that conveys the danger, the deaths and the risks that people took to see loved ones again or to attain freedom. 

The art here is exceptional.  Cole uses lighting on his pages to show the hope of the West versus the darkness and gray of the other side of the wall.  The illustrations are atmospheric and dramatic.  They convey the feeling of isolation and the fear. 

A strong picture book about the Berlin Wall and the power of family and hope.  Appropriate for ages 4-6.

Reviewed from library copy.