We all know that books are more than words and ink. They have the power to transport young minds to faraway places and help those dealing with stress find a safe place away from it all. But on a more practical level, the talented pairing of Willis and Ross show us in their latest offering that books have endless other weird (and wonderful) uses!
An imaginative young girl and her thespian cat demonstrate with brilliance how a book can prove useful around the house (to ‘keep a table steady’) or in the garden (to ‘swat away a fly’). They even share how a book can play a key role in the milking of a cow (not sure this one is advisable to try at home!). Ross’s light-hearted illustrations capture the childishness of Willis’s punchy verse perfectly and the simple use of rhythm and rhyme makes it ideal for reading aloud.
What’s most lovely in this celebration of books, however, is the depiction of books as an enhancement of imaginative play and a way to help children experience emotion. As Willis alludes to, the beauty of books is their ability to ‘make you laugh and weep’; they are a way to help children put themselves in the shoes of others, at the same time as developing an understanding of their own emotions.
Despite its playful tone, Not Just a Book… shines the light on the physical book in today’s digital age and reminds us of the wonderful impact that reading can have on all children.