Book Title: Caged (available here)
Author: Duncan Annand
Publisher: Tiny Owl
Publication Date: August 2018
Most Suitable for: KS2
Reviewed By: Rachael Collins, Primary Teacher
Caged is a wordless picture book in which the simple, effective illustrations build up in small steps to the final ‘finished’ pictures. The story begins with a bluebird making a nest in her forest and she appears to be watching the actions of two men interfering there. As her nest is growing, she watches these men destroying this forest, which houses colourful parrots. As the men destroy the parrots’ habitat, they cage each parrot they find and build a palatial structure with the caged parrots.
The slow build-up of the illustrations throughout the book means that there are plenty of clues to spot on each page to show how the story is developing and to predict the next part of the story. Colour is used selectively throughout the book: initially, only the birds in the story are given any colour and the vibrant birds stand out from the colourless humans. This means that the viewpoint automatically shifts to that of the birds, instead of the humans. However, just before the end of the book, there is a slight change in colour use which could indicate the fate of the men.
There are some interesting discussions that can be brought up throughout the text. The value of individual liberty is an obvious link: should these men use their own freedom to cage other animals for their own (and other humans’) entertainment? Should animals have the same rights to freedom as people do? This links to the moral question of caging any animal and the illustrations lead to thinking of this from different perspectives: the onlooker, the imprisoner and the caged. Overall, this is a lovely picture book that can be read on different levels depending on the age of the child.
Many thanks to the publisher for sending us a review copy of this book and to Rachael Collins for reviewing the book.