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This lovely picture book depicts the poignant story of little Peterboy’s subterranean childhood. He lives in a world ruined by undefined human damage, where he is safely moored by the shelter and love of his grandfather. Early in the story, Peterboy brings optimistic splashes of colour to his cavern home. However, it is the arrival of the little duck (‘Idaduck’) — a symbol not only of nurture, but of the natural world regaining a foothold — that spurs Grandpapa to describe for Peterboy a previous world drenched in the colours of nature.
Whilst Idaduck’s inevitable release into the wild could be a moment of overwhelming sadness, her flight takes the pages from darkness to light. The story’s final sentence is elegantly and quietly optimistic. Glenda Millard’s text is beautifully shaped and has a style all its own; her charming invented words are always immediately understood. The artwork is a crowning achievement for Stephen Michael King — his familiar gentle, quirky style is wonderfully rendered, even on the darkest of pages, and when colour blossoms at the story’s conclusion, it does so with great power.