Reviews provided by Syndetics
Publishers Weekly Review
The creator of Where the Forest Meets the Sea offers another warning about the environment--somewhat didactically--in this wordless picture book. Each spread features the window of Sam's room, from which the reader can see the landscape being destroyed as Sam grows up--forest and animals are replaced by neighbors and houses, factories are built, graffiti is scribbled on walls and other problems indigenous to populous cities appear. At the end of the book Sam holds up his baby to a new window where the tree-filled landscape contains an ominous sign advertising a new subdivision. ``By the year 2020,'' Baker says in a concluding note, ``no wilderness will remain on our planet, outside that protected in national parks and reserves.'' Her distinctive collages are extraordinary in their complexity, but children will need an adult to explain how, ``by understanding and changing the way we personally affect the environment, we can make a difference.'' All ages. (Apr.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved
School Library Journal Review
Gr 1 Up-- A mother, holding her newborn son, gazes out the window of his room at lush vegetation, tropical birds, a pond, a kangaroo. Ten double-page illustrations following show the development--during a 20-year period--of the area outside the window. As Sam (the baby) grows older, the land is cleared, a road is built, then a farm. A housing development goes up, then takes over a hill that was once green with lush growth. Development becomes suburb, then city, complete with billboards, high-rises, noise pollution, litter, and overpopulation. Sam marries and moves to a new house in the country, where the final window scene shows him, holding his baby, staring at a sign announcing, ``House Blocks For Sale''. Words are unnecessary, as Baker's carefully rendered collage scenes explicitly detail the situation. Varying symbolic objects on Sam's windowsill (and the cracking and peeling of paint on the wall) add to the book's message. Baker's meticulous collages, formed from natural materials, clay, fabric, and real hair, are so detailed that they require many viewings. A final, short author's note explains the inspiration for the book: ``. . .by understanding and changing the way we personally affect the environment, we can make a difference.'' This unusual, exceptionally well-crafted picture book might be a good way to begin. --Susan Scheps, Shaker Heights Public Library, OH (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.
Ages 3-5. This wordless picture book traces the urbanization of a countryside as the changing landscape is seen through a bedroom window. In the first scene, a mother and baby look out at a wilderness that reaches to the horizon. Later views, covering a period of 24 years, show the construction of a road, houses, more houses, businesses, and skyscrapers, until nothing is left of the original landscape. Changes in the child's size and activities mark the elapsing time, as do age-appropriate items left on the windowsill, such as birthday cards, a teddy bear, a pet frog, and so on. The last scene shows the grown child, now a father himself, looking out of a different window onto yet another countryside, one that is already being destroyed for new housing. The eyecatching illustrations are done as collage constructions with an intriguing variety of textures. A good way of introducing environmental concerns to the young. ~--Leone McDermott
Horn Book Review
The story in this wordless book is told through the outdoor scene viewed over time from one child's bedroom window. Initially, a mother holding her infant son gazes out at the lush Australian bush; as the boy gets older, civilization swallows up the wilderness. The multimedia collage constructions powerfully convey the dramatic message. From HORN BOOK 1991, (c) Copyright 2010. The Horn Book, Inc., a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.
Kirkus Book Review
Baker's latest plea for the environment, like Van Allsburg's Just a Dream (1990), is explicit: 12 views through the same framing window detail what happens during a single generation as ugly urban life crowds out a wilderness vista. The first picture's infant becomes a boy who litters and traps wild creatures; his toys evolve from plastic dinosaurs to rockets. In the 13th picture, he and his baby are, looking out a new window on another forest where ""house blocks"" are already for sale. This talented Australian's collages of natural and other materials are especially suited to these beautifully evocative illustrations, in which the many carefully chosen details build a realistic picture of civilization's sorry progress. There's contagious concern here, and a great deal to ponder and discuss--even more powerful because the message is visual: a brief, last-page note is the only text. Copyright ©Kirkus Reviews, used with permission.