Monday, August 10, 2020

Review - The Blank Page

The Blank Page
by Alberto Blanco
illustrated by Rob Moss Wilson
Date: 2020
Publisher: Plum Blossom Books
Reading level: C
Book type: picture book
Pages: 32
Format: e-book
Source: NetGalley

Is a blank page really blank? Poet Alberto Blanco pulls back the curtain and illuminates all of the elements hidden in a single piece of paper: the tree it was made from, the rain and sun that allowed the tree to grow, and the people that created it. An enlightening read for readers young and old, it soon becomes clear that a blank page contains the whole cosmos.

In The Blank Page, acclaimed Mexican poet Alberto Blanco inspires children and adults to keep looking deeper, to never take things at face value. Charming illustrations by Rob Moss Wilson portray a world that slowly comes to life in a single sheet of paper: first the tree, then the forest, then the people are discovered, revealing the whole interrelated ecosystem of our world. As Blanco says: "Where nothing happens, there is a miracle we are not seeing."

(synopsis from Goodreads)

While I understand what this book was trying to do, I found it uninspiring and rather bland.

The reader is basically asked to look behind the sheet of paper to the processes and materials that go into it, from the trees and workers to the sun and rain and the planet itself. The idea that a piece of paper contains the whole universe is, while lovely, a little abstract for a children's book.

I'm not loving the illustrations here, either. They're colourful but rather flat and basic.

My favourite line in the book is probably the last one ("Where nothing happens, there is a miracle that we are not seeing.") and despite what the blurb says, it's not even Blanco's line. Attribution is given on the copyright page.

Overall, this is a forgettable book. While the message is laudable, the execution is just plain boring.

Thank you to NetGalley and Plum Blossom Books for providing a digital ARC.

Premise: 2/5
Meter: n/a
Writing: 3/5
Illustrations: 1/5
Originality: 2/5

Enjoyment: 2/5

Overall: 2 out of 5

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