What would you pack in your rucksack if you had to leave home? How far could you walk? Where would you sleep? Simple questions accompany this little boy’s account of his journey to safety with his mother, full of trudging and queuing, waiting and wondering. The spare text hints gently at some of the challenges of forced migration and leaves room for young readers to ask more without overwhelming them. Carefully oblivious to geography or race, the story could apply to anyone anywhere, inspiring empathy and connection, especially with details like the two cats, one left behind as the boy travels sadly away, the other befriended at his destination.
The bold lines and colours – yellows, reds and a gradation of greys for shadows, night and the drabness of fences and camps – convey the hardship of the journey lifted by hope as the boy finds safety and acceptance in his new home. A tender, affecting and effective introduction to a harrowing topic for very young readers.