Score: 84/100 (8.4 out of 10)
Do You See Me When We Travel? is another cozy little children's book by one of our most prolific children's authors, Tuula Pere!
This particular book focuses on the feeling of being lost in the chaos and shuffle of a wild day out. This is a familiar feeling for people of all ages, especially children. Children may not fully understand why their parents and families go to or take them to places like the market, the zoo, the carnival, or to get-togethers. The meaning and spectacle behind these things might be lost on them. They might even feel lost or even forgotten.
One thing about Tuula Pere children's books is that they can shine light on otherwise dark or depressing subjects related to children. The truth is, life isn't all sunshine and rainbows for children. Kids go through tough times too, sometimes even tougher times than adults as they are smaller and more vulnerable with less agency. They sometimes feel sad, lonely, or even lost and abandoned. While this book doesn't dig too deeply into that darkness, it still explores it from the surface.
The unnamed main protagonist in this book is a little boy who is on a trip with his mom. Everything is big, loud, and confusing for him, except for maybe the playground—his safe place. This is very relatable. Even we're afraid to cross the street sometimes when it's busy or when cars appear to be speeding. Sometimes, it's nice to have someone hold your hand and guide you through a scary, busy, confusing situation.
The boy is confused as adults, towering over him like giraffes, have conversations that he doesn't understand and doesn't feel a part of.
They visit the toy museum, where the boy can feel more in his element, and have a bite to eat. However, the food on the menu is foreign and confusing to him as well. He is assuaged with some familiar snacks.
This book does a really good job at exploring the anxieties of being a kid in an unfamiliar place and situation. The only real critiques we have are that the art is nowhere near the quality or complexity of others we've seen recently (including the author's own The Only Blue Crow) and that it skips around a lot. It can be a little challenging to read since the text flies from one part of the page to the next, and situations change drastically and abruptly for the characters. We can understand that this captures the feeling of the character, but it can be jarring for the reader, especially a young reader going through this book for the first or second time.
Otherwise, this book really is harmless and has a really unique charm with a really important message exploring themes of security and familiarity.
You can find this on Amazon!