Review Blog

Nov 02 2020

What we'll build by Oliver Jeffers

cover image

HarperCollins, 2020. ISBN: 9780008382209.
(Age: 4+) A father and his daughter build a life together, using the things in the tool box to construct the foundations of many years together. They build a house, one which will keep people out, making them feel safe, but equally they can open the door, to let people in. Time will pass, and over those years, many things will happen, things that they will explore and share together. They will build bridges to other places, seek out other spheres, knowing that they have built a love which is stable and unassailable. In times of duress they will have resources to fall back upon: things they have kept aside, love that is still there kept in times when needs are greater.
Jeffers offers his promises to his daughter, Mari and the life he is laying before her in this highly personal poem of the special relationship between a father and his daughter.
At times the poem feels overwhelming in what he is offering his child: peace, warmth, comfort and safety, but equally he is aware that there will be times of loss and hardship, but promises he will be there to encircle her and keep her safe. Any adult reading this cannot help but be moved by the responsibility Jeffers feels towards his daughter, and equally children reading it will be in awe of what a parent does for them.
Against the backdrop of Jeffers' stylish illustrative technique, younger readers will be entranced with the detail he includes on his pages and follow the path of his toolbox through the pages, representing the detail and substance of their life ahead.
Themes: Future, Fathers, Daughters, Lifestyle.
Fran Knight

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