“Anthony Browne? Eh, never heard of him.” That was my first thought the first time I laid eyes on this book. The cover caught me by surprise though. I mean, a boy holding a cube that looks like the sky. I would say that’s pretty surreal, wouldn’t you? So I bought it, brought it home and read it. Although the story didn’t really impress me all that much, some of illustrations in here are begging to be blown up and put on a wall.
Browne seems to include a ton of imagery in one illustration. You may see a normal scene such as the front of a building but upon further inspection you’ll start to notice something odd in the windows. He is also, obsessed with gorillas so you'll see a gorilla in pretty much every book he has illustrated. This one is without exception.
The story is about two boys, Sam and Jeremy. Sam is minding his own beeswax when along comes Jeremy, a boasting spoilt brat whom, after bragging, always seems to get his comeuppance. After several boastful episodes, Jeremy gets abducted by pirates, made to walk a plank and while Sam is trying to rescue him from drowning, Jeremy is still bragging!
Browne’s work has been referred to as surrealist, it’s his belief that all children see life through surrealist eyes and because children are seeing the world for the first time, everything is exciting and fresh; taking on new meaning. The story is a bit nonsensical, but so are the illustrations and I for one, think that’s a good thing! Sometimes reading is more fun that way!