Children’s Book Reviews
Children's Book Reviews: Down Here
Publish November 10, 2015
Down Here, by award-winning author Valerie Sherrard, is a picture book about the joys of creating art, in all of its sometimes messy glory. Jamie has a knack for building things and finds inspiration everywhere. Unfortunately, Mom doesn’t share this same enthusiasm for teetering towers of pillows strewn around the living room, and repurposed furniture. While Jamie’s siblings are praised for their tidier artistic pursuits of drawing cats and telling scary stories, Jamie is told to “clean up this clutter!” The budding builder has an epiphany after climbing onto a table and surveying the construction site from a grownup’s vantage point. In an intuitive move, Jamie invites Mom to experience the finely crafted worlds down on the floor, from a child’s level. Isabelle Malenfant, illustrator of the award-winning Morris Micklewhite and the Tangerine Dress, presents Jamie as a freckle-faced, curly-haired moptop. The highs and lows of Jamie’s marvellous contraptions are also captured, including a roller coaster made out of a toboggan and an overturned sofa, and a rocket ship fashioned out of an umbrella, a broom and a skipping rope. Imaginary adventures take flight and soar in both the chatty, conversational text, and in the detailed illustrations. Appreciating art can be a matter of perspective, and Jamie conveys this message in a fittingly creative manner.
Linda Ludke is a librarian at London Public Library. Her reviews have appeared in Quill and Quire, School Library Journal and CM: Canadian Review of Materials. When she’s not reading and writing she also loves searching for vintage treasures.
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