There is a Tribe of Kids
Lane Smith is best known for the award-winning ‘Grandpa Green’ and ‘It’s a Book’, and his work with the creative, parodying children’s writer, Jon Sciezka. With, ‘There is a Tribe of Kids’ Lane Smith has something truly unique, allegorical, long-lasting, that is almost cyclical in its theme.
There is familiar word play, from the collective nouns that form the text- ‘tribe of kids’ to ‘parade of elephants’, that interplays with our main character, a child of ages past, journeying through our pages, alongside the reader, experiencing the world and varying collectives, also. There is a movement, and exploration, discovering animals and physical and emotional geography, curiosity, rejection and a great, growing sense of belonging.
The title won the 2017 Kate Greenaway award. The dappled, Seurat like pictures interplay meaningfully with weighted, considered text to create a special book. It has me looking back, considering and comparing, even as I have written this. I can imagine children and adult readers looking this over again and again, marvelling and loving such an imaginative, beautiful book.