Review: Black and White

cover 'Black and White' by David MaccaulayDavid Maccauley has written a picture book that borders on being an experience rather than a story. While it appears to be intended for children, I wonder about that. The story is sort a puzzle that children are likely to solve while adults are likely to find it difficult. I think that may be because it’s not a traditional book. It’s quite a complicated little book with four (or more) stories linked (perhaps) in some way other than sequential (perhaps).

Commuters are waiting for a train. A boy is waiting for his parents. Another boy is waiting for his train ride to end. The train is waiting for some cows to get off the tracks so it can be on its way. The problem for most readers is, I think, that each part of the story does not proceed in an expected way and the story has to be assembled or simply experienced.

Instead it is like seeing a number of images and being given the task of tying them all together so that there is an understandable conclusion. That’s the fun of this book, trying to find ways to tie the pieces together. I think most children can do it. However, most adults will find it difficult until they realize the book does not tell its stories in a traditional way. Again, it’s like giving your child a handful of pictures and asking the child to find ways the pictures are alike. That could be a fun project on a rainy afternoon.

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