Page 45 Review by Stephen
"There's not much room where I live
"And all the earth around me is filled with life."
If you stop to look around, so much of it both thrives and abounds; as above, so below.
The subterranean pages teem with tiny beetles and gleam against the black with a shining ink which highlights the passage of the worm though buried, senescent, autumnal leaves as ants also scurry forth. There's even a slug and a safety pin.
In this immaculately structured graphic novel - so much of whose story is image-delivered - Bickford-Smith, creator of THE FOX AND THE STAR, presents us with much to make us think, much to make us grin, and no inconsiderable drive of dramatic tension as the Worm goes about its determined business oblivious to the patience of its early Bird up above.
"I am too busy to rest,
"I can rest later," says The Worm.
But The Bird isn't busy. It's resting on the handle of a garden spade, even as the wind blows, night falls and then the rain pours down from the heavens. Its subtle, comedic expressions are as priceless as those of Sage the fat, feathery Owl from The Herb Garden!
"I am too busy to look,
"I can look another day," thinks The Worm.
But The Bird is looking. The Bird is looking right down at the ground.
"I am too busy to listen.
"I can listen when I am finished," believes The Worm.
Possibly... Or you could start listening now.
There's so surprisingly much to take away from such a brief book, which is far more mischievous than its equally eloquent predecessor. If you're not too busy to look, you will find hidden treasures, feet firmly planted, leaves, leaves, leaves, leaves and an evasive-action manoeuvre reminiscent of the hours you spent playing Snake on your Nokia 3310.
There's a certain degree of black humour in its irony - dramatic then otherwise - as two different perspectives mirror each other, before a third is presented by implication. For, if you really do stop to look around and perhaps far further afield, so much quiet life both thrives and abounds; as below, so above.