In a futuristic city a boy lives alone. The city he lives in has long since been vacated and is now a mass of derelict homes and abandoned industrial zones. In the place the boy calls home, he surrounds himself with the possessions he has found and needs to survive, and he records his thoughts and feelings in a journal that is kept under his pillow. His days are repetitive. He dresses, he wanders, he hides, he returns. This is how life was in a city where nothing thrived.
Venturing out into the city is dangerous and safety is found in the shadows, out of the sight of the machines and their controllers. The boy longs to leave the city on one of the trains, “the trains that arrive overloaded and always left empty.” Up until now his efforts to board one of the trains have failed. But then he meets Koji, a girl living a similar existence to himself, and together they may be able to come up with a plan to both escape Block City…
Wow, what a picture book this is. It is a read that is particularly suited to older readers and one that would certainly offer something new for many children. It invites the reader in to something unfamiliar and immerses them in a dystopian, industrial world where nothing thrives. The incredible black and white illustrations are stunning and they expertly capture the isolation and loneliness of the boy in a city devoid of hope. There is no speech in the narrative and this really re-enforces the silence of the city and leaves the illustrations to convey the emotions and the feelings of the characters
Should go down well with fans of Shaun Tan, Mel Tregonning and David Ouimet. This dark, mysterious and at some times frightening read is a story about surviving in the face of adversity and finding a way when all hope is gone.
Recommended for 10+.