This is an amazing book. A children’s picture book is hardly a true description.
I love every detailed drawing, every feature that Ruben abides in.
Everything black and white and grey, especially the shadows. Ruben is safe in the shadows of Block City. His life changes when he decides that he has to go outside of the section of the city he knows. He moves carefully through the dead world to the train terminus. There was always a train coming. He hid watching the train being unloaded by the machines. The streets in this part of the city were different, higher, darker. He was not comfortable.
That’s when he sees a movement on the other side of the street. A small figure just like him.
They stay hidden from Controllers and The Listeners. All robotic human figures. Together they moved to places Ruben hadn’t been before. Through a maze of cogs and machinery, through the engine room, past the Sweepers. The train carriages were locked, there was no way out of Block City.
They rested together in her safe place, in a space between things, before Ruben left to go back to his safe place. It didn’t seem so safe now.
The Epilogue is brilliant with Ruben and Koji in the train carriage and Ruben with a copy of Gulliver’s Travels in his pocket.
This is a picture book for everyone who hopes and dreams to go beyond a dark and frightening world and move onto new places.
Thanks, Bruce Whatley.