Tuesday, June 23, 2020

A Walk in the Park by Anthony Browne





2013, first published 1977  

Mr Smith and his daughter Smudge take their dog Albert for a walk. Mrs Smythe and her son Charlie take their dog, Victoria for a walk.  Mr Smith and Smudge walk through a dreary neighbourhood with rubbish piled in front of dark little terraced houses.  Mrs Smythe and Charles walk past neat and tidy detached houses with bay windows. Even their clothing is different. 

The dogs do not hesitate to have fun and chase each other. Charlie and Smudge gradually get to know one another. Mr Smith and Mrs Smythe do not. 

There is a joke for the adults. Victoria chases Albert and Albert chases Victoria. 

As always with picture book for this age group there is some much more extra story in the pictures.  Not only do we have more detail but there are some quite extraordinary details. One double spread features four trees. The one on the far left has no leaves. The one on the far right is full of leaves. We see them growing in the two other pictures. This suggests that the trips to the park occur regularly over a period of time. When the children finally play together and “The whole world seemed happy” there are rainbows in the background. The final two pages show Charlie and Victoria arriving home.  Do they live near the park? On the opposite page Smudge and Albert have to walk through the middle of town to get back to their home.     

The text is sparse and the pictures dominate. It uses an adult font though it is large. This is a large format book.  

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