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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)
Big Question (The)
by Leen van den Berg
Age Range: 6-8
Elephant has something on her mind. It’s a difficult question and she can’t stop thinking about it. Luckily it’s the annual general meeting so everyone will be able to help her to find the answer.
Ant is chairing the meeting as Turtle is ill and she’s even bought a pair of glasses for the occasion. Once the meeting is underway, and after much hesitation, Elephant finally asks her question ‘How do you know you love someone?’ There is an odd array of participants at the meeting including: fairy tale characters, animals, inanimate objects, the elements, trees and plants and circus performers, and each has their own interpretation of love, except the sceptical Ant, who is far too busy for love.
Snow White says that when she kisses her prince she forgets all her troubles, while the stone has a nice warm feeling when his sweetheart is close by. ‘When I see my love I start to blush’ the apple whispers shyly. The giggling clouds say they ‘always float in the same direction’ and the snowflakes gurgle that they ‘melt for each other’. The acrobat exclaims that “Love is all of those things” but it is only Ant who doesn't seem to understand.
The Big Question is a modern fable with a wonderful message. Belgian writer Leen van den Berg’s unusual, philosophical tale about the many sides of love, eloquently translated by David Colmer, is complimented by the startling surreal illustrations by Kaatje Vermeire. This gorgeously produced picture book is sure to capture your attention instantly.