The Norwegian philosopher and author of Sophie’s World: A Novel About the History of Philosophy (1994), brings out the existentialist in even the youngest reader.
In this pocket-sized picture book, soft, earth-toned illustrations of a pale-skinned child with black hair setting out on a walk with backpack and dog pair with mostly blank pages and the child’s thought-provoking questions, such as “Where does the world come from? Has there always been something here? Or has it all come from nothing?” Yet the questions are not simply another version of arbitrary conversation starters as in the popular The Book of Questions and its spawn, and the delicate illustrations are not simply pretty pictures to accompany pithy musings. Rather, they work together to tell a story about love, death, and many topics in between. As the child heads into a wood and digs up a box filled with trinkets, sometimes followed by a similarly sized and shaped ghost, the child raises questions of memories, fear, and the future. A short series of sepia-toned illustrations also depict the child’s past with a twin and their adventures together. Though death and grief are never mentioned, it becomes clear that the child is processing feelings through these questions. They provide an opportunity for readers of all ages to explore their own feelings on these same subjects and the world around them.
Quiet, respectful, and touching. (Picture book. 8-12)