Thank you Gransnet for a great read. They say never judge a book by it's cover - but an exception should be made for this one. A beautiful and slightly mystical cover and I am going to say the same of the writing. I galloped through the first half, intrigued and captivated by the story then...whoa! No spoilers here - but the rest of it certainly makes you think. Emma Hooper has such an imagination to bring all of this together. Her descriptions of the battles fought during the lifetimes of the characters are so visual and insightful. Gransnetters, have you taken notice of the endpapers, the linings inside the cover? They are like a 'Can you spot...?' game. My questions for Emma ...why papier mache animals and do you have a guinea pig?
Sadly, I have never had a guinea pig, or any kind of small fluffy pet. I did have a cat growing up, and she would have eaten it, I imagine…. However, that didn’t stop me wanting to have them, and nagging my parents for them a lot.
As for papier maché, there are two answers to this question, the superficial and the slightly more deep. Superficially, paper-maché is fun and I love it. I won my grade 8 science fair by making a paper-maché dolphin to scale with all its organs in place… I think doing and making hands-on crafts is good for the head and the heart. On a another level, a running theme in this book is the ‘swap’ that Etta and Otto are undergoing, both in terms of the stereotypical gender roles of their generation, and also the roles they’ve played throughout their own, specific lives. Etta does this by ‘doing’ and ‘going’, and Otto by ‘creating’ and ‘nuturing.’ Hence the papier mache (and the baking, and the guinea pig too).