Do You Remember?


The boy and his mother lie, head to head in the darkened room. Turn by turn, they ask, Do You Remember? Maybe the picnic, when the boy returned from exploring with something in his hands? Then again, the birthday bike, the surprise, from which the boy fell? Or the time that the rain came ‘down so hard that the roof‘ leaked? Thereafter the ‘power went out‘? What about ‘the smell of Grandpa’s old oil lamp‘?

Yet now? It seems that they have left their home behind. In fact, they’ve packed everything up and driven ‘down the motorway/ further than [they’d] every been‘ until they ‘were lost’.

However, it seems they’ve arrived, yet where? We gaze with them across dense, dark toned pages, wondering what the pair have left and what might lie ahead. Could this be the start of new memories?

The feelings are intimate and personal so that we can feel the hurt and loss, but then the heads together shows a solidarity and kinship. Then again, the rhythm, between mother and child, blossoms into something new, when the boy leaves the bed, and in three frames, opens the window to the light. Might they be starting again?

Bookwagon is moved by Do You Remember? This is a most beautiful, thoughtful, provocative and poignant picture book that we recommend for reading together, thinking about, talking over and cherishing.

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Do You Remember?

Sydney Smith

(Walker Books)

Do You Remember? The picnic in the fields, ‘just you and me and your dad- looking for snakes and bugs‘. It seems the boy remembers, and thereafter, seeks a memory to share with his mother. Therefore, does she recall his birthday, when he was given the bicycle? Despite being steadied, he lost control.
Thereafter, in the dark, the pair lie together in the dark,  head to head, remembering. Where are they?
It seems they’ve travelled far in their pick up trap, through rainstorms to arrive in the big city, through which they were lost. Furthermore,  we take in their gaze across two wordless double pages, allowing us to realise their new environment, too. Then again, what will happen when the boy rouses himself from the bed, to open the page, and the day, to window light? Might this be a memory too?
Multi award winning writer and illustrator Sydney Smith presents a picture book dense with meaning, fear and hope. The play of framing and tone is symbolic and tangible. Altogether, as with his My Baba’s Garden, it means that Do You Remember? is an outstanding picture book of empathy, emotion and strength.


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