Title: The Invisible
Written and Illustrated by: Tom Percival
Published by: Simon and Schuster
I loved The Invisible by Tom Percival and it has left a lasting impression on me. It is about a girl named Isabel whose family are very poor and their home was so cold there was ice on her bedposts. Even so she is happy and her happiness is reflected in Tom’s illustrations with the green blanket and green jumper of love to keep her warm. She was happy, that is until she had to move to a new neighbourhood, where the colours fade to bleak greys and blues to reflect her sadness and loneliness. Nobody talks to her and nobody notices her. She has no friends.
Isabel feels invisible and Tom shows this with her image gradually turning translucent, highlighting the realities of poverty on people’s lives and self-esteem. The more she goes unseen the more she sees the other invisible people who live in her new neighbourhood, such as the old lady planting flowers in empty paint pots, the man feeding the birds in the park and the boy helping to mend someone’s bike. She realises they all make a difference in their own quiet way.
Isabel decides to help them and through her example the whole community soon joins together to make their world a brighter place as shown the last spread, which is portrays a vibrant, colourful community full of joy and hope.
This beautiful picture book has a strong theme of acceptance and belonging. I am sure young children will grasp the message that life isn’t easy but we are all important and can help change things for the better as it is the little things that make people’s lives brighter.
At the end of the book Toms tells the readers a little of own childhood growing up in poverty, having no electricity and drinking water from a nearby spring. He explains he understands what it is like to be poor and the importance of belonging. This book would make a great edition to a class book corner, especially in these uncertain times of rising fuel, heating and food prices. Tom tells us there are over four million children living in poverty in the UK and I believe this is only going to get worse.
The ideal book for reading aloud at story times. I would recommend this book to all.