People, whatever age, are often unsure or fearful of the unknown or the unfamiliar. This idea is explored and is played out beautifully in Chris Naylor-Ballesteros’ The Suitcase. It is a very clever book.
When an unusual looking animal appears carrying a very large suitcase the other animals are very unsure. Where is he from? Why has he come here? And most importantly for the other animals, what is in his suitcase? The stranger is exhausted and really just wants to go to sleep. What little conversation he has with the other animals only raises their interest, and in some cases suspicions, further. The animal claims to have a tea-cup, a table, a chair, in fact he has a whole house in there. But surely this can’t be true..
As the animals contemplate what to do next a clever discussion raises the question of morals and right and wrong. What transpires are powerful messages about accepting others, kindness and friendship.
The images against the white backdrop are wonderful and the simplicity of them means that the reader’s focus is really drawn to the expressions and emotions on the faces of the characters. I really liked that the text for each animal was written in the colour of that animal so young readers can clearly identify with who is saying what.
A wonderful read packed with many important messages for young children. It is a nice way to introduce the idea of refugees and how we treat people who may be different in some way to ourselves.
Recommended for 4+.