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Debra the Dancing Dolphin, Chobham Academy Book Group

The Journey

The story opens with an illustration of a familiar seaside scene, full of colour and fun. But turn the page, and there is a fantastic use of BIG BLACK hands to show the beginning of war! This contrast shows the power of illustration – the effect was magnified by the illustrations, giving more power to the words.
More black pages follow, evoking a sense of nervousness in the reader, making them unsure what will come next. Thankfully war is outside most reads’ experience, but a book about war and its effects on people helps us as reader to empathise with the many people we see in war zones, daily, on our TV. These are the people often described as refugees.
The use of silhouettes made me think about how frightening it must be to have to use the cover of darkness to escape terror. There is clever use of different sizes of images of various people, to show who has power – shown often as BIG people – and those who have little or no power: the small characters.
We are shown, through the illustrations that the main character likes books. At times of danger she compares herself to characters and animals from traditional tales and fairy stories that she, and we readers, are familiar with. This reinforces both that she is young, and that these stories and her experiences are universal.
This is a very moving book, one to be shared with children 10+, with whom very interesting discussion could be had about the troubled world that we live in.

Posted on: 18th May 2017 at 11:37 am

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