Kids’ Book Review: Review: The Gargoyle

This stunning picture book by gifted wordsmith,
Zana Fraillon, is  narrated by a boy passenger on a train. 

The story
brings attention to several important themes: ageing, and the destruction of
historical and valuable buildings by developers who replace beauty with high-rise apartments.

The gargoyle represents people as well as buildings
and other non-modern structures and items.

The stone fixture has been discarded. He has nowhere
to go. He drags his life, history, and sadness in a suitcase with him. The boy
wonders what is his story.

To the shadowed, young passengers, the gargoyle is
old therefore invisible. For the old must make way for the young, vibrant, and functional,
for technology and speed.

Accosted by the ticket inspector, the gargoyle is
shown the door, leaving behind his suitcase, which the boy retrieves.

When he disembarks, he opens the suitcase. The
gargoyle’s life and history pour out. All his joys and sorrows, emotions and
experiences are released from captivity. They stain the surrounding passengers
who brush away the dust of old memories.

A small seed survives which promises life and
renewal. Its green shoots are visible. The boy plants it filled with hope.

Fraillon is a provocateur. She challenges thought
with her words. She dares the reader to dissect and discover her underlying messages.

Ross Morgan’s illustrations are equally enigmatic and
offer the same challenge. His characters are in shadow, therefore disconnected.
He shows only legs walking, not full bodies, portraying a view that people
are seldom fully present. In their haste to reach their destinations, they have
no time to stop and consider others.

This beautifully designed and presented picture
book speaks loudly. It speaks for those who have no control over their
remaining life, and to those that destroy beauty to build convenience.

Title: The Gargoyle

Author: Zana Fraillon

Illustrator: Ross Morgan

Publisher: Hachette, $24.99

Publication Date: 28 June 2023

Format: Hardcover

ISBN: 9780734421241

For ages: 5+

Type: Picture Book

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