The Wall in the Middle of the Book by J. Agee
Agee, Jon. The Wall In The Middle Of The Book. Penguin-Random House Canada, 2018.
Jon Agee is a beloved author and illustrator who, through his many books, has accumulated praise and awards alike. The Wall in the Middle of the Book, is his 23rd book and it’s a beautiful and simplistic story that incorporates his brand of humour and valuable lessons. Agee, however, takes a unique direction with this book in his use of a literary device by breaking the fourth wall to make the story meta. The story follows a knight who explains the situation of there being a wall in the middle of the book that you, the reader, is reading. The knight is content with the situation, as he knows of all the perceived dangers on the other side of the wall including an ogre, who he believes would eat him if he gets caught. The knight is then put into a situation where he has to face his preconceived notions to survive. The fourth wall break was an interesting and engaging metafictive device to use in the story.
The book had simple writing that would juxtapose what illustrations were showing, like when the knight would say how great things were on his side while the water began to rise and danger loomed, adding to the humour. The Wall in the Middle of the Book’s lesson is very useful in today’s world, and the idea of what or who lies on the other side of “walls” in the world, and not assuming what those things or people are like. This book easily could work for a number of audiences based on the simplicity and depth of moral lesson it touches on. This would also be effective in showcasing a dialogue-driven book. This book is an elementary level book that can be universally enjoyed in all classrooms.
Highly Recommended: 4 out of 4 stars
Reviewer: Spencer Baird
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