Thursday, August 22, 2019

Review - There's Room for Everyone

There's Room for Everyone
by Anahita Teymorian
Date: 2019
Publisher: Tiny Owl Publishing
Reading level: C
Book type: picture book
Pages: 32
Format: e-book
Source: NetGalley

A child grows and discovers the world. As he lies awake at night, he sees there’s enough room in the sky for all the stars and the moon. When he visits the ocean, he sees there is enough room for all the fish, even for the whales. As he grows up, he doesn’t understand why people fight for space. Surely, if we are kinder to one another, there will always be room for everyone? This is a beautiful and profound picture book — a testament of our time and a touching allegory for war and the refugee crisis.

(synopsis from Goodreads)

This book starts out with a flawed premise that I find difficult to get past. You know how some people argue that overpopulation isn't a problem because you could fit every human being on Earth into the state of Texas? That's basically the idea this book runs with, ignoring the fact that people aren't fighting over space; they're fighting over resources. Otherwise, we'd all be buying up acreage in the Sahara and building our dream homes there.

This flawed premise is taken even further and applied to animals. The book states that there's plenty of room for all the animals, conveniently ignoring the fact that different animals require different habitats. Sure, there's enough space for orangutans in Indonesia, but we keep destroying their habitat. If you destroy an animal's habitat, it might have a difficult (or impossible) time living somewhere else.

The pictures really don't work for me. On the very first spread, there's a picture of the child in his mother's womb. He's either holding a doll or an underdeveloped twin (in either case, it's really odd and kind of creepy). The mother is holding a book entitled How Keep Babys. I don't think I'd trust a book that doesn't even have a coherent title. On the same spread, there are two very phallic images. One is a slipper. The other is... Actually, I have no idea what the other one is. Maybe a sock? It looks like a hairy penis. The rest of the illustrations are plagued by unrealistic proportions and weird perspective issues. In one picture, the boy is staring up at the moon. His arms are so long his hands nearly touch his ankles, and his feet are facing in two different directions! Animals wear jewellery and carry handbags, there's a man on the subway who looks like he has no bones (and, again, his arms are so long his hands are dragging on the floor), and for some reason, the library has floating tables (it's also apparently a place where you're supposed to take off your socks).

The synopsis makes the book sound like a profound statement about war and the refugee crisis, but the premise is so flawed that it doesn't work. While there's technically room for everyone, there aren't always enough resources (or enough resources in the right places)... and that's the real issue driving our current problems. 

Thank you to NetGalley and Tiny Owl Publishing for providing a digital ARC.

Premise: 2/5
Meter: n/a
Writing: 2/5
Illustrations: 1/5
Originality: 2/5

Enjoyment: 1/5

Overall: 1.5 out of 5

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