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‘We need the literature of other countries to expand our
horizons and stimulate our ideas. Without it, we are not only
diminished, we are starved’
(The Times, Magnus Linklater 29/06/05)
Where Do We Go When We Disappear?
by Isabel Minhos Martins
Age Range: Under_5
So, where do we go when we disappear? This is the big question that Portuguese author Isabel Minhos Martins and illustrator Madalena Matoso tackle in their second book to be translated into English following on from Where do we come From.
Although it might be considered a somewhat complex concept for a very young audience the author deals with the theme in a gentle childlike way that can be understood.
There are things in this world that are always appearing and disappearing: the sun, clouds, puddles, snow, noise and people. ‘Sunshine, clouds, leaves and even birthdays are always starting and ending, appearing and disappearing’.
The author poses questions such as ‘where does everyone go at night-time?’ Does sand disappear? Where do puddles, clouds and the Sun go? Have they gone forever when they go? Will they come back? Martins also explains how some things take longer than others to disappear such as rocks, cliffs and stones. She combines humour – ‘do lost socks really go missing? with the more serious issue of ‘do people ever really disappear?’
Written in a conversational style the text has a poetic quality. It doesn't deal with death directly but it naturally leads onto the subject that children frequently ask about and can be introduced at a pace a parent or carer is comfortable with. Martins handles this tricky subject with refreshing optimism, imagination and honesty.
The illustrations by Madalena Matoso are simple but vibrant with their striking block colour and they compliment the text perfectly.