Welcome back to the Butterfly Book Club. This week we’re talking about a unique and thought-provoking book sent to me by the kind folks at Flying Eye Books. You’ll notice that as a publisher they focus on more quirky, unusual picture books and The Journey is a good example of this.
Firstly, the book itself is so beautifully made with an almost rustic feel. It feels very timeless and I imagine it would last for many years, even in the hands of a small child. The illustrations use a gorgeous colour palette and are distinctly European in their style. They are beautifully detailed and each page is a real feast, you notice new things every time you read it. Perfect pictures for telling this somewhat intense story.
For a children’s book, this is a pretty serious storyline. It follows a family of refugees who flee their home following war and their father’s death. Peppa Pig this ain’t! Told from the perspective of a young child, it is a truly eye-opening account of the fear, uncertainy and danger faced by many desperate migrants. The story has been inspired by the real life, personal accounts of dozens of people from various countries who the author seeked out in order to give a face to the political terms ‘migrant’ and ‘refugee’, and on this score it definitely delivers.
As a picture book, this made me a little uncomfortable at first as it’s a pretty a harrowing plot for a preschooler to handle. However, on reflection, I realised that we shouldn’t shy away from these issues (which are very relevant, given recent events). Although be warned, reading this book together could mean you face some provoking questions from slightly older children.
Putting the refugee theme aside, this is also an adventure story – complete with boats, forests and trains – which will certainly engage your little ones. Another theme I personally enjoyed is the power of mother’s love and the lengths this mum will go to to give her children a better life.
An unusual, challenging, and delightfully tactile picture book that will haunt you long after the close of the final page.