This book featured on the QCA's Key Stage 2 Schemes of Work list for Geography, under "What I Can See Through My Window".
Jeannie Baker was born in England, but has lived in Australia for many years. Her illustrations have appeared in various publications, including The Sunday Times. She is the author/artist of several picture books, including the awardwinning Where the Forest Meets the Sea, Home in the Sky and The Hidden Forest.
The creator of Where the Forest Meets the Sea offers another warning about the environment--somewhat didactically--in this wordless picture book. Each spread features the window of Sam's room, from which the reader can see the landscape being destroyed as Sam grows up--forest and animals are replaced by neighbors and houses, factories are built, graffiti is scribbled on walls and other problems indigenous to populous cities appear. At the end of the book Sam holds up his baby to a new window where the tree-filled landscape contains an ominous sign advertising a new subdivision. ``By the year 2020,'' Baker says in a concluding note, ``no wilderness will remain on our planet, outside that protected in national parks and reserves.'' Her distinctive collages are extraordinary in their complexity, but children will need an adult to explain how, ``by understanding and changing the way we personally affect the environment, we can make a difference.'' All ages. (Apr.)
"A book which can be 'read' again and again." The Guardian; "Each child will see something different - that's the joy of the story." Books for Keeps
Gr 1 Up-- A mother, holding her newborn son, gazes out the window of his room at lush vegetation, tropical birds, a pond, a kangaroo. Ten double-page illustrations following show the development--during a 20-year period--of the area outside the window. As Sam (the baby) grows older, the land is cleared, a road is built, then a farm. A housing development goes up, then takes over a hill that was once green with lush growth. Development becomes suburb, then city, complete with billboards, high-rises, noise pollution, litter, and overpopulation. Sam marries and moves to a new house in the country, where the final window scene shows him, holding his baby, staring at a sign announcing, ``House Blocks For Sale''. Words are unnecessary, as Baker's carefully rendered collage scenes explicitly detail the situation. Varying symbolic objects on Sam's windowsill (and the cracking and peeling of paint on the wall) add to the book's message. Baker's meticulous collages, formed from natural materials, clay, fabric, and real hair, are so detailed that they require many viewings. A final, short author's note explains the inspiration for the book: ``. . .by understanding and changing the way we personally affect the environment, we can make a difference.'' This unusual, exceptionally well-crafted picture book might be a good way to begin. --Susan Scheps, Shaker Heights Public Library, OH