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All land is one land
The Little Island

How does it feel to be a little island in the middle of the ocean?
Words by Margaret Wise Brown on white background on the left and vivid illustrations by Leonard Weisgard on the right: the layout of the book works with images and narration to convey the sense of steadiness of the island throughout the passing of seasons. As the landscape changes and the inhabitants of the island come and go, we are left with a peaceful , grounded feeling of security.
The little Island is basically a non-fiction book with a lyrical allure, with a surreal interlude involving a black cat arriving on the Island, to question its nature.
How can a tiny island be part of the world?
That curious break is there to bring out the metaphor out of the story, which would otherwise feel mainly descriptive.

And the fish told the kitten 
how all land is one land
under the sea.

Nights and days came and passed
And summer and winter
and the sun and the wind
and the rain.
And it was good to be a little Island.
A part of the world
and a world of its own
all surrounded by the bright blue sea.

A simple yet meaningful story about nature and identity, showing children how everything is part of a bigger picture, and what looks tiny and lonely is actually interconnected somehow with the big world.
The author also approaches the concept of faith through naturalistic observation: since the kitten cannot swim, he must believe the truth told by the fish without seeing it.
A difficult idea for children to process, explained clearly and resorting only to empiric facts.
What does the little island stand for?
Whether we think it represents childhood or ourselves, I loved the comforting feeling of peace and reconciliation with the the world that we are left at the end of the book: Wise Brown has this superpower.
Last but not least: this story is truly beautifully written with a rich, melodious language, perfect for preschoolers who thrive on this to expand their vocabulary in the sensitive period for language.
The Little Island was awarded the Caldecott medal in 1947. 
-
The Little Island [1946]
Words by Margaret Wise Brown
Art by Leonard Weisgard
English Language edition published by Random's House Children Books, a division of Random House Inc.
Reading age: 4+
Themes: Seasons, Nature, Identity




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