This story builds on the idea, which all young children have at some stage, that if you dig a hole as deep as you can, you might eventually reach the other side of the world!
Jake is bored with his life indoors – wonderfully depicted in the gloomy palette of the first few spreads – and dreams of a life far away where people could be living upside down. In a bid to reach this place, he starts to dig a hole in his garden and is steadily joined by a host of friends who want to help and share in Jake’s quest. The final reveal, once the team have finished their digging, provides a wonderfully pleasing conclusion.
This is a story that celebrates the power of friendship and cooperation. Accompanying the growing group of friends who help Jake dig the hole are various creatures, who appear and lend a hand as the hole deepens. These include multiple mice, and a rather bemused cat, which children will love to spot as the pages unfold. Jake’s determination to pursue his dream, and the hard work and fun he has to achieve his goal, are topics for children to talk about which will naturally flow from reading the story.
There is so much to pore over in the bold and colourful illustrations which accompany the adventure. Youngsters will have fun comparing the endpapers where some objects have moved or appear in a different perspective. Two of the double page spreads have illustrations which require you to physically shift how you hold the book – another great way to emphasise the steadily deepening hole. Jake’s initial daydreaming of a life down under is reflected in the upturned toys and people who apparently walk their dogs while standing on their hands. These elements are clever ways which ensure children will become fully immersed in the story.
This is a striking picture book which is likely to become a firm favourite.