Glenda Millard illus, Stephen Michael King, Allen & Unwin, 32pp, 9781743362983, £9.99 hbk
Peterboy is a Darkling, living in a post apocalyptic world of ‘lost and longed for things’. It’s a world where light, hope and joy have been disremembered, and where sad children weep sorrydrops. Each night these Darkling children go out of their dark underground holes to the finding fields, scavenging for things to put in their glory bags. But after discovering holes in the dark where light leaks through one night, Peterboy sets out to find ‘a scrap of wonderfulness’ for his granddad. Instead, he just finds a broken duck.
However, a book that initially threatens to be a dystopian narrative is actually one full of hope for a hurting world, as Peterboy discovers that words can paint windows on the darkest walls. It is a story of friendship, of joy, of hope, and healing for the future.
Dark/light, past/future and despair/hope contrasts are all portrayed as words and images mirror each other in mutual support throughout the book. Text layout, font and flowing lines in the images reflect the meanders of thought process. Language is rich in alliteration, imagery, simile and metaphor, creating a poetic feel to the flow of the text.
It is impossible to do this book justice with mere words. It is also impossible to describe the intensity of feeling that it provokes. It’s a book to cherish; a book to linger over. I wish I could give it ten stars, and if it isn’t a recipient of a range of prizes, then there’s no justice. Buy it, read it, share it.