Everyone knows I’m a book lover, hence the blog name, but fundamentally, I’m a reading advocate, and reading comes in many forms. So how about we take a talented author, Hilary Robinson, and a talented illustrator, Steven Johnson, and combine their creative powers for the ultimate in storytelling, and then put it together on a poster!! Well, the result is an extra special treat called The Wall The Beast Built: A Fable For Our Time.
To coincide with the 30th Anniversary of the fall of the Berlin Wall in 1989, this very special illustrated fable explores the effects of division on communities and is brought to you in the form of this fantastic illustrated poster!
The Beast has built a wall and seperated the lands of Somewhere and Anywhere. They are apart and suffer losses as a result, yet they still retain a lovely connection through singing. Eventually the Beast does go away, and the two lands decide to chip away at the wall to finally reunite and share their resources and love again.
As always Hilary Robinson’s writing is so lyrical and gently written. It is told in simple clear prose that will reach out to any child and adult who reads this. Just enough of a story has been told to express a clear defined tale with real heart, yet enough left unsaid so as to provide plenty of discussion points, why did the beast divide the two places? Where did he go? How did they feel? Focuses on history, politics, even empathy, and that’s before you even begin to look at the illustrations. I can see creative writing and poetry easily coming off the back of a fable like this. It has so much to offer and that is what is really quite incredible about this carefully planned and edited piece of writing. It is a challenging subject to write about, it’s a terribly sad situation that is unfortunately all too real in history and today, yet Hilary has been able to inject so much joy and hope into the tale showing that we do have the innate ability to overcome monstrosities similar to this.
Now of course there are two parts to this poster, the fantastic writing is one thing and that alone makes for a treasure, but combine it with the expert illustrations by Steven Johnson then you have something even more special. Drawn in a brightly coloured and graphic novel-esque style the illustrations show a looming suspicious beast, melding into his own evil creation as the two places either side sing across the divide. It’s depicted in the most remarkable way and I have to say I was astounded with how Steven managed to visualise Hilary’s wonderful words so perfectly. The bright colours and vivid artwork perfectly reflects the hopeful happy message within this fable. He has created here, not just amazing storytelling through illustration, but also a piece of artwork you will want to have on your wall!
So as you can probably tell this is a real treat for me to share with you now. The Wall The Beast Built is available in two printed formats, a large impactful sized A2 poster, £10, perfect for classrooms and libraries, and a special limited edition A3 print ,£20, signed by both Hilary and Steven.
AND, if that wasn’t enough, the story is also available on request as a free watermarked e-download for schools and libraries to print and use in classrooms, perfect for lessons. Find the links for all this below.
When trying to encourage children to read, or when teaching a topic, there are so many formats we can use instead of books to engage and interest children. The Wall The Beast Built is presented as a quality poster, so it’s perfect for classroom and library walls. And as much as I would love to see this developed into a picture book at some point in the future, what better way to immerse children in reading and stories than presenting them in a beautiful visual manner and putting them up on the wall. Let’s surround children in wonderful, impactful stories, make reading a part of life inside books and beyond! Well done Hilary and Steven for this remarkable creation, a truly formidable team!
The Wall The Beast Built is available NOW to purchase from Strauss House Productions website. If you want a limited edition copy I suggest you get in quick as I’m sure these will get snapped up!
to find out more about author Hilary and see some of her other fantastic books please visit https://www.hilaryrobinson.co.uk
and to discover illustrator Steven’s Talents please visit www.steillustrates.com
Thank you for reading this Book Monster review