One quiet morning, a small boy landed on the page.
At first there was nothing else.
Then very slowly, a world began to appear.
An unnamed small boy tumbles onto an empty white page. As each page turns, his world develops. First there are plants and animals, then people and buildings. Initially he is an observer, but gradually he begins to participate and to experience. Some of his experiences require his input, others require him to just be. He grows to manhood, meets a girl, builds a house, a life, a family. He wonders though, what is the meaning of his existence on the page. Why is he here? A pivotal experience, where he tries to leave the page but lands straight back on it, provides the answer. Illustrations are watercolour and pencil and include lots of white space.
‘Why am I here?’ is a very big question for a picture book. The boy in these pages ponders this as he wanders through his world, learning, growing and developing a sense of how to be. There are many good things in his life, indeed he is very fortunate to have friends, family, a home. But in the midst of good fortune, he is not as firmly anchored to the world by a belief in his purpose as he would like to be. In attempting to leave the page, then returning, he finally understands his purpose. Children may read this literally, but there are many other interpretations, particularly for his attempt to leave the page. In this journey through life, if we are fortunate, we have many companions. Hopefully, we remember that. The boy/man has two animal companions throughout – perhaps symbols of his personality/state of mind? Recommended for early primary-schoolers.
The Boy on the Page, Peter Carnavas New Frontier Publishing 2013 ISBN: 9781921928468
review by Claire Saxby, Children’s Author