Page 45 Review by Stephen
"Doubt is really a big one for me...
"All the time it keeps me from doing what makes my heart sing...
"But then, not only do I talk myself out of my own dreams. On top of that is what everyone else has to say...
"Not to mention how the world is supposed to work."
There Kirchmair slumps at her desk, as crushed and crumpled as a discarded drawing, weighed down by the dictates of others. "You must..." "You should..." etcetera.
I feel there will be a lot of empathy for this succinct little storybook. There's a neat little one-page comic within called 'The growing of dreams" in which Kirchmair's ideas and ambitions grow from a potted sapling into a vast, verdant tree. The biggest panel is reserved for the pinnacle of the process when all seems about to bear a fruition which she finds "fascinating"... only for those wretched doubts to creep in once again, telling her that it's "all a bit unreal" and she chops the tree down in fright.
You might suppose that this is the work of a young lady embarking on a newfound enthusiasm for creativity. It is not. I've met Dori and she's my age. Our doubts don't just disappear.
But nor does Dori's determination. Throughout the watercolours on a delicate black pen line are bright and healthy and in natural tones of grass-green, aquamarine, sky-blue and earthen or tree-trunk brown. She has suffered set-backs but she won't be bowed into submission for...
"Somewhere deep down I know it's not right to throw away your dreams.
"It's not 'environmentally friendly', either."
Ha! Unlike the single-page comic which is perfectly poised, I own that the text and illustration of the main body are not ideally integrated - the timing's a bit dislocated in places - but there is a great deal of white space so a whole lot of light, and for once I didn't mind the typed script.
What I did object to was its original cover and I told Kirchmair so, thereby becoming yet another of those didactic pests. *slaps own wrists* But it looked like a type-led cover to a particularly bland catalogue for lord knows what and Page 45 deals in a visual medium. No one would have looked past its cover here.
So we come to what I mean by Dori's determination and her practising what she preaches - because I promise you this has a thoroughly uplifting end and a cracking punchline which harks wittily and unexpectedly back to its title. Although the creator had a finished product to sell me with multiple copies... she printed a fresh batch with a new, image-led cover and a burst of much more organic lettering which broke up the blandness and emphasised that she has something to say which is probably worth reading. In a humble way. Dori was determined to get this booklet onto our shelves even if she had to go to extra expense.
Oh look, she's succeeded. Respect.