A book that is getting a lot of press right now is What the Road Said by Cleo Wade. I was interested but not in an OMG I have to find it. The other day it came across my desk and I gave it a look. My first thought was that it was a cool cover. It was simple, the road is centered, and I was getting a pleasant eye image to start with. I was not sure if I was going to like it but was happy to give it a chance. And I was thinking it did not look like it would be too weighty, therefore, it would be an easy and quick read. But looks can be deceiving.
This book has a hefty subject. The idea of “it is okay to be unsure” is front and center. The two characters “unknown you/the traveler” and an “all knowing narrator” speak back and forth. “What if?” (from our traveler) is followed by “keep on going” (the road/the narrator). The idea of the road will take you where you need to go, even if sometimes you take the wrong path, is not new, but the presentation is fresh. The road goes on to tell you that yes, you will fall, you will have stops along the way and there will be happiness and sadness in your journey. That journey will be life and you keep living it. You, basically, just “keep swimming” or walking down that road.
The theme is a bit modern for my tastes to LOVE this book. However, I am far from disliking it. Part of that comes from Lucie de Moyencourt’s illustrations. They are nice. Busy without being overwhelming. The colors are soft, but solid. They are comforting and get you going. They are nice and strong with the details presented. There is a classic atmosphere to them while staying strongly in the modern.
While this is a picture book, I am not necessarily seeing this for the traditional picture book crowd. It is an all-ages book, even adults could get something out of it. Especially if they are going through a rough patch, starting a new adventure (marriage, new baby, divorce, new job, etc.). There is not traditional action or adventure. It has a spiritual, introspective theme. Know your audience before gifting (even to yourself).