Monday, September 23, 2019

"The Red Suitcase" - a bookwrap


"The Red Suitcase"

Authored by Gilles Baum
Illutrated by Amandine Piu

* Ages:  5-6
* Grade Level:  PS-K
* Hardcover:  42 pages
* Publisher:  words & pictures
* Pub. Date:  September 17, 2019
* Language:  English 

Unwrapping some powerful illustrations for you

Unwrapping the Story

From the book jacket: 

"Sometimes you have to be brave.
 Sometimes you have to leave behind everything you know to go somewhere safe.         
 This is the story of one small dragon's journey to find a new home." 

The Red Suitcase,  originally published in French, is an allegorical story depicting the struggle of refugees.  I must admit from first reading the book I had no idea that was the premise of the story.  Once you discover that important element, the story makes perfect sense and you know the intention of the author and the bittersweet message that he is portraying.   

The minimal text is simply stated and the main character, a little dragon, drives the point of the story home.  Upset and in danger from the condition of his homeland he sets out to escape from the perils and chaos that is swirling around him.  He carries just one empty suitcase and determines to seek asylum some place safe... but where? 

He sets out on a dangerous journey all alone.  He meets many challenges such as: rain storms, blasting heatwaves, rugged terrain to cross, crowded cities to maneuver through, and incessant  hunger, just to name a few.  Each time his trusty suitcase morphs into an important tool to help carry him on to his safe destination...  but where is that destination he wonders?  He is searching for   some place that is safe, full of joy, and a place to belong.  Does such a place actually exist?  He wants so much to settle down, make friends and live out his life in peace? 

"The Red Suitcase" relates the story in way that young kids can understand.  The book will evoke many conversations and discussions I'm sure.  The illustrations certainly are beneficial and augment and enrich the text greatly. I love the little dragon character.  He is adorable and has great personality and fortitude.  I didn't like the fact that some pages were just sketch-like and the suitcase is suspended on the pages with almost no explanation as to what is going on with it. I found it confusing and those pages didn't really move the story along in my opinion.  It is however a thought-provoking book that begs answering the question.... what if that is me some day?  Storywraps recommends this book. 

Storywraps Rating - 4 HUGS!!!!

Meet the Author and the Illustrator

Giles Baum studied mathematics and became a school teacher. He discovered children's literature through his job teaching and began writing stories for children himself.

Amandine Píu is a French illustrator. She first studied Visual Communication in Lyon, then went on to achieve her dream of becoming an illustrator when she graduated from the Decorative Arts Illustration Studio in Strasbourg.

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