Jon Agee, The Wall in the Middle of the Book, Scholastic Australia, April 2019, 48 pp., RRP $16.99 (pbk), ISBN 9781760663490
It’s very easy as an adult to read too much into a children’s picture book. But it is hard to ignore the relevance of this book with what is happening around our world right now.
The wall in question is used as a clever visual device, running down the gutter of each double-page spread. On the ‘right’ side; the ‘safe’ side, we meet our little knight. On the ‘other’ side, we see wild animals. Jon Agee gently reveals the danger and ignorance inherent in a fear of ‘others’. While we are busy trying to keep ‘others’ on the other side of the wall, we turn our back on what may well be occurring on our side of the wall! And how wrong it is to assume that someone who doesn’t look like us cannot be a friend and hero.
This is a brilliant picture book about overcoming our fear of the unknown, and embracing those who are different from us. Highly recommended for age 5+.
Reviewed by Gaby Meares