Do you find yourself in the position of the grown-up that kids go to with their deep and philosophical questions? Then Ergo, by Alexis Deacon and Viviane Schwarz, will help! Not by supplying any answers, but by lightly and magisterially illustrating a method for thinking big thoughts and breaking down big questions. It’s also bound to cause a good bit of a giggle!
Ergo’s story begins before the title page, as she sits, eyes closed, on the front endpapers, a yellow blob of something with minimal features in black ink. Scrap that, Ergo’s story begins right after the title page, when she opens her eyes, sets off ‘to explore the world’ and discovers her wings, her toes, her beak. Naturally, she concludes ‘I AM THE WORLD AND THE WORLD IS ME’. But wait, there’s a wall … and there is a beyond the wall … and there is more in that beyond … From curiosity, to perplexity, to fear, Ergo works her way through the feelings that come with not knowing and, unwittingly following in the steps of Cartesian philosophy, finds her own solutions: ‘STICK TO WHAT YOU KNOW’ and then break down the wall! Now, Ergo’s story can begin … This is an absolutely wonderful book. Funny and with a clear storyline, it also sits firmly in the category of philosophical books for young kids. Thanks to a very pared down text (giving a direct line to Ergo’s thoughts) and an utterly brilliant use of contours, colours and negative space, young readers can follow Ergo’s story as she gains knowledge, definition and agency. Fantastic!