Through the Looking Glass Children's Book Reviews

Boy on the Brink

Boy on the Brink

David McPhail
Picture Book
For ages 3 to 6
Henry Holt, 2006   ISBN: 978-0805076189

A little boy has a very busy day. He goes fishing with his grandfather early in the morning and then he spends the day on the beach with his family. In the evening the boy and his sister go to the carnival with their aunt and uncle. Throughout the day the boy is warned to be careful of this and not to do that. It is normal for grownups to tell children what to do of course. But at night, after his exhausting day is over, the little boy doesn’t have to deal with being told what to do anymore. Better still, after he falls asleep, all the rules stop and dreams take over.

When this little boy dreams he takes a journey which is a vague reflection of the day he has just had. Only this time there is no one around to tell him what to do. This time he is in charge and he can have as many splendid adventures as he likes.

So he rides around on a pony and, among other things, rescues a yellow-haired girl who is calling for help. He patches up a crack in a dam, stops a ship from falling over a waterfall and all in all has a splendid time.

Every child who has wanted to be free of rules for a while will appreciate this story. With a wonderfully simple yet powerful text, and beautifully rich illustrations this is a picture book to savor and to share with others. It is a perfect title for bedtime reading.