The Wall in The Middle of The Book

There’s a wall in the middle of this book. And it’s a good thing – the cheerful little ladder-carrying knight tells us as he arrives to repair a brick that has come loose from the wall, perhaps a signal that all is not as it seems in his world.

The little knight is confident in his world view. Dangers lurk on the other side of the wall, not on this side. Ferocious wild animals roam about, waiting to attack and, worst of all, there is an ogre the knight says would ‘eat me up.’

 The interplay between text and illustrations works perfectly using scale and facial expression to drive home the comic aspect of the knight’s misguided perspective. Looking directly at the reader, his expression is self-congratulatory while he fails to notice the growing dangers on his own side of the wall. While the illustrations fill the page, the white background gives a feeling of expanse. The use of a knight and ogre and the washed-out colour palette combine to give this book a medieval feel harking back to walled cities and, although a timely tale, one that is as old as humans.

Maurice Sendak, one of Jon Agee’s early influences, can be seen here. Agee has also turned the book gutter, an illustrator’s problem which he described as ‘Where your beautiful double-page spread gets swallowed up in the middle!’ into a clever device here.

While this book carries a clear message, it never resorts to being a vehicle for this, in a way that would compromise the story for the reader. It is also a good book for young readers who are just beginning to read independently. 

Book Cover - The Wall in The Middle of The Book
Publication Date
February 2019
Age range