In a series of dreamscapes of possibility and ambition, a father and daughter set out to create the world in which they wish to live. Each brings something special to the task: what can be constructed is almost limitless, from cherished memories to a wall excluding enemies (plus a gate to admit them later, when apologies are due….) The father guides his daughter, and she guides him, and together they forge a path that enables both of them to grow.
Blazing with colour and optimism, Jeffers’ striking artwork delivers visual surprises, humour and emotional sincerity throughout. From images that are easily read (“We’ll build a house to be our home…”) to those that are open to many interpretations (“We’ll build a watch to keep our time…”) this book gets right to the heart of parental hopes, and signposts a path for imagining and dreaming.
A lyrical, rhyming text guides and suggests in a way that feels relaxed. There’s no hint of ‘ought’ in Jeffers’ kind and constructive commentary – imaginative camaraderie prevails, and if his poetry doesn’t always read as comfortably as it could, it’s a minor detraction in a book that’s offering so much.
Jeffers wrote and illustrated What We’ll Build for his daughter, Mari, as a companion volume to Here We Are, the best-selling picturebook that he created for his son. ‘If Here We Are was written to help explain how our world works, then What We’ll Build was written about how we change it,’ Jeffers says. This is a book that ‘contemplates what home is, the importance of family and the strength of the invisible bonds of any loving relationship. It is all about the pure potential of what will come, both good and bad, and how, ultimately, people need each other.’ Our world has always had its challenges, but over the last year, it has become – in Jeffers’ words – ‘a radically different place’; one in which ‘it feels even more important to plan for an uncertain future, realizing there will be dark days ahead, that we don’t get anywhere alone, and where we go, we should go with love.’
Every day, in every corner of the world, children and their parents are creating ‘together futures’, and this is a book that empowers those partnerships.What We’ll Build is a timely and very special picturebook for families to treasure over many years, and one that will continue to deliver something new each time it’s shared.