Review | Wednesday 27 June 2012
This wordless picture book, with two alternating stories (left and right pages tell a different tale), was inspired by a poem of the same name by William Carlos Williams (see below).
The right-hand pages are the main event, depicting with simple illustrations the discovery of a red wheelbarrow - an ideal hang-out - by two little girls who also have in their possession that thing that drives a wedge between any set of siblings: a lolly bag! Stewart's sparse style, with its tiny details like dimpled knees and its rough edges, manages to convey every emotion from the pure admiration of the littlest girl for the bigger one, to her utter despair when the lollies are out of reach.
Meanwhile, big chicken and little chicken fight it out over a worm on the left-hand pages.
The Red Wheelbarrow offers a lovely opportunity for children to express their own interpretation of a simple story - there's plenty to talk about - and for those of us who know a thing or two about sibling rivalry (and sibling love) it may even wet the eyes. (It did mine.)
'The Red Wheelbarrow' by William Carlos Williams
so much depends
a red wheel
glazed with rain
beside the white