Over the Shop


The little girl and grandmother seem to have a silent routine of awaken, wash, breakfast and then shop. While the grandmother puts the boxes of fruit outside her neglected shop, her granddaughter cleans upstairs. Thereafter, the granddaughter sneaks food to the cat that lives in a box in the alley.

On the day we meet them, the grandmother is making a sign advertising a room to rent above the shop. Yet it is evident, as we travel up the stairs with the first interested party, that this room is neglected, in need of cleaning and attention. Possible tenants visit but nobody shows interest. Is there anything that might be done? Could the granddaughter intervene? Is it possible that tenants might be found to whom the granddaughter might support as they prepare their new home? Thereafter, what small seeds might she, and then they sow, to bring light, new life, visitors and opportunity to the shop?

Over the Shop is a magnificent, gentle, compassionate and empathetic wordless picture book. Bookwagon urges you to visit Over the Shop. 

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Over the Shop

JonArno Lawson, illustrated by Qin Leng

(Walker Books)

Over the Shop is a girl who awakens every day to wash her face, before breakfast and washing the dishes. Meanwhile her grandmother, it appears prepares the shop for the day ahead.
When we meet them, the girl’s grandmother has shooed away the cat that lives in a box in the alley. Thereafter, she’s begun making a sign offering a Flat to Rent. While she’s busy, her granddaughter prepares some silent food for the forbidden cat.
We watch as a trail of people trek up the stairs to the flat, sparse, dirty, abandoned. We recognise the same sense of disrepair and savage absence of comfort in the shop and lives of the grandmother and granddaughter.
Yet, what might happen should a couple stop and see the potential of this little flat? Furthermore, maybe they recognise something in the girl who follows them with a broom, obviously desperate for life, warmth, colour, hope and opportunity?
Bookwagon adores Over the Shop. This wordless picture book offers so much in terms of understanding, inference, warmth and encouragement. Canadian poet and writer JonArno Lawson is best known to readers for Aloud in My Head. Now he turns his intricate plotting and storytelling skills to a wordless picture book, relayed in such sympathetic tones and perspective by Qin Leng.


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