Do you remember being told to stop daydreaming when you were a child? Do you remember being told to pay more attention to things around you, to stop staring at the window, to stop having your head in the clouds?
The little boy in this story love to use his imagination, much to the dismay of most adults around him. Until his art teacher put a blank piece of paper in front of him and asks him to let his imagination run wild.
What a splendid book The Wonder is; it encapsulates the power of imagination in childhood and how it contrasts with some adults’ jaded attitude perfectly, thanks to an enlightened use of colour. The choice of colours allows young readers to follow two parallel narratives: In sepia tones, what is happening in “real” life and in vibrant colours aplenty, what is happening in the boy’s imagination. It is so effective, and so beautiful, it could easily be a wordless book and still retain it its meaning.
Young readers will not fail to notice that real life does indeed feed the imagination as the scenes of his daily stroll can be spotted in his artwork.
The Wonder carries an important message about not curbing children’s need to have their imagination go free. It also brings a potent reminder about the importance of art in education, at a times when artistic subjects seem constantly threatened and claimed to be worthless.
Source: review copy from publisher