The Wall in the Middle of the Book by Jon Agee (9780525555452)
A little knight is very happy to be on his side of the wall. After all, there are dangerous animals on the other side as well as an ogre who would eat him up. Unfortunately, he doesn’t notice that there is water starting to fill his own side of the wall. Then large dangerous creatures start to enter too, including a snapping crocodile and big fish. Just as the water fills the entire side though, the ogre comes to his rescue and brings him to the other side of the wall. But will our little knight be devoured there too? Or perhaps the other side of the wall isn’t quite as dangerous or evil as he might have thought.
I love that this book can be read on two levels. There is the simple story of a wall in a book and then there is the political climate about walls right now in America. Agee shows that making the opposite side dangerous and “othering” them is unsafe for everyone. He also clearly demonstrates that blindly believing that we are better than others can be our own downfall. And at the same time, the picture book works incredibly well as a simple story of a little knight, a wall and an ogre.
The illustrations tell a major part of the story as the little knight does not realize what is happening. Children listening to the book will love seeing the dangers before the knight does and will likely shout warnings when this book is shared aloud.
Political and entirely pleasing, this picture book is just what we need right now. Appropriate for ages 3-7.
Reviewed from ARC provided by Dial Books.