Through the Looking Glass Children's Book Reviews



David Wiesner
Picture Book
For ages 5 and up
Clarion Books, 2006   ISBN: 978-0618194575

One day while a young boy is playing on a beach he finds an old camera lying at the edge of the surf. Being a curious young fellow he opens up the camera, he takes out the film that he finds inside it, and he has the film developed at the local camera shop. When the boy sees the pictures that were taken using the camera he is completely astonished.

There is a photograph of an octopus family quietly resting in an underwater sitting room complete with lamps, a sofa and chairs. The boy gazes at a picture of a puffer fish hot air balloon floating above the ocean waves. Then there is the photo of an underwater city of sea shell buildings populated by tiny green people.

Then the boy finds a very different photograph. This time he sees a picture of a girl and in her hand she is holding a photo of a boy. That boy is also holding a photograph. When he examines this picture the boy on the beach comes to realize that the image before him shows all the children who have found the camera over the years. Now it is time for him to add his face to this history of discovery. Once that is done he casts the camera back into the ocean, sending it on its way to find yet another child on some distant beach.

This wordless picture book is a remarkable visual tour de force which delights the eye, exercises the imagination, and which will delight readers of all ages. Readers will find themselves wishing that they too could some day find such a magical piece of flotsam on a beach. Who would not like to have the secrets of a watery world revealed before their eyes and who would not like to be a part of a photographic history which stretches back to a time when photography was still a novelty.

Base has once again produced a book which is both visually stunning and thought provoking.