Winner of the Key Stage 1 Non-Fiction Category in the English Association's 2011 English 4-11 Best Children's Illustrated Books
Visual storytelling at its best. It is a two in one picturebook, with minimal written text in English and Arabic, about the lives and experiences of two little boys. One of them is from Sydney in Australia and the other from the Valley of Roses in Southern Morocco. So, in one case, we are shown urban landscapes of motorways, car parks and superstores and, in the other, we see deserts, working animals and markets. Each boy is growing up in a distinctive cultural context, but some things connect them. These things include the human need to be loved by family and friends and part of a community. Explaining her powerful metaphor Jeannie Baker comments: `Inwardly we are so alike, it could be each other we see when we look in a mirror'. The beautiful hand woven Moroccan carpet the Australian family receives symbolises these connections. Such a nice touch to have the Australian family sitting on the carpet and looking at their little boy's picture of a magic carpet in flight! In our modern world the Internet links us with different parts of the world, and we are shown the Moroccan family round the computer. The philosophy of connection between human beings wherever they live which underpins the book is shown in arresting artwork and makes it of interest to discerning readers of any age group. Jeannie Baker's distinctive collages, used in her other books too, are made by combining both natural and artificial materials - for example sand, earth, plastic and metal- on a wooden board. The photographs of these collages become the book's illustrations. Children in the key stage 1 years will learn something about human geography and each double spread, rich in detail, will give rise to much talk and perhaps children's own drawing and writing.