This Thing Called Life

Prestel Junior. Oct. 2020. 56p. Tr $17.95. ISBN 9783791374437.
PreS-Gr 3–Borstlap, well known in the art community, ponders the meaning of life in his debut picture book. The text, which is around 56 pages, seems too long for a children’s picture book, but the artwork is plentiful and there are few words. Kids don’t have to dwell on heavy philosophical concepts or they can choose to stop and consider the hidden message behind the simple wording. The text begins with life evolving from stardust then discusses how life is about reproducing, perceiving, breathing, moving, feeling, giving, and taking. Overall, life is unpredictable. Ideas such as how we can’t “do life alone” may seem simple and straightforward but there is much to think about. There are colorful, soft-toned, fuzzy sketches of animals and plants. Borstlap seems to be telling the reader to slow down and think deeper about our place in the universe. Although the book is not text heavy, it seems unlikely that it will fully engage the target audience. This title could serve as a coffee table book for adults who wish to thoughtfully contemplate the meaning of life.
VERDICT Children might find the illustrations amusing, but they will not understand the complexity of the written message. Purchase if you have additional funds.

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