A Few Blocks is a stylish, beautifully conceived picture book that seems just right for any child, but maybe especially for a city kid with a great imagination (oh, and maybe a kid who has art-loving parents). You’ll be struck by the delicacy and detail of the illustrations as soon as you see them, as well as by the appealing contrast of black and white images followed by pages with rich, expressive colouring.
It’s simple. It’s about a brother and sister going to school and the little brother doesn’t want to. The sister gets him moving by appealing to his playful, imaginative side, telling him to put on his superfast cape (coat) and his rocket-blaster boots. They head out into the city and along the way, she needs to come up with more enticements to keep them going. They move in and out of their imaginative world as they complete an ordinary walk to school. And isn’t that what so many kids do? That’s one of the best parts of this book. It feels true in the way that it captures how kids look for magic in the world they see everyday, and also in the natural relationship between the siblings. As if the pictures weren’t impressive enough, you’ll be even more astounded when you realize that they are etched paper sculpture collages. Amazing. Learn more about the author illustrator here. Young is an impressive artist and if she’s making books like this one, I’d say she’s someone to watch. I’m giving A Few Blocks to a few of my favourite kids this year, for sure.
A Few Blocks is published by Groundwood.