Sunday, May 29, 2011

The Green Book, by Jill Paton Walsh

How I found this book: I was messing around a library one day and happened to see it.

More or less, this book is -
The story of a colony ship of people from Earth departing for a new home planet. They escape a Disaster on Earth that we never learn much about. Eventually they reach another planet and begin to settle in, dealing with issues like reading matter, the possibility of native species, and - most importantly - whether they will be able to grow more food before their supplies run out.

It doesn't sound like much, I will admit - but it is a perfectly beautiful child's book, sweet and simple and a glimpse of a world utterly other and yet peopled with those like us. There's a sense of loss regarding the old Earth, a sorrow as things like literature and clouds are forgotten, when the old stories get garbled. There's the wonder of the planet itself. There's the fear of whether or not survival will be possible.

It's a thin little tale, hardly a novella even at 69 pages.


...and so Shine was transformed. For the buildings at night were now a soft pale green, with points of emerald visible where the lamps were hung, and the leaping glow of the fires made a ruby-red glow in the middle. The blurred and magnified shadows of the people moving inside their houses cast dark figures softly over the walls of the fluted, shimmering green and red shining houses, and Shine at night looked like a scatter of blocks of fire opal, lying on a dark land under the stars.


All those years closed inside the spaceship, and the time on the new planet, had made Pattie forget the air could move, the air could touch you, as the quiet air of the new place never did.


I love, love, love this book. I suppose it must be science-fiction, but I don't think it feels like it. It's just a child's viewing of a great and strange and wondrous business.

Age rec: anyone. Anyone at all. Even an adult would like it, I think.

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