Kate Greenaway Award 2018 Shortlist – Under The Same Sky by Britta Teckentrup

This charming picture book, shortlisted for this year’s Kate Greenaway Award, uses a clever peep through technique to emphasise the way in which everyone around the world is united by the same hopes and dreams. It is a timely and thoughtful book.

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Award winning illustrator Britta Teckentrup combines beautiful pictures with a simple yet lyrical text to portray a celebration of global unity in this lovely book. It gently depicts how the world’s communities are united by the same hopes and dreams.

When this book was first published I was drawn to the cover without having known anything about either the author or the title itself. The cover depicts two animals on the front, one large and the other smaller, possibly a parent and child, both gazing upwards at a cut-out of a cloud through which one can read the title. One animal is wide eyed, the other with eyes closed and the overall look is serene and reassuring. As you turn the pages a variety of animals are portrayed in contrasting landscapes with each linked by a clever use of a cut-out through which the reader catches a glimpse of another animal or another place. This technique works beautifully as the connection feels natural and unforced. Despite the simplicity of the text the message of a world united by shared emotions is conveyed with great impact. Beautiful, gentle illustrations combine with the brief but slightly poetic text to demonstrate that we have so much that unites us rather than divides us and that we all share this one world together. In a time of political turmoil this is an important and timely message.

And yet despite the important message this is of course an engaging and lovely picture book that is a delight to share with young children. The interactive element is something that little ones always love and this is done very well as it invites them to peep through and maybe return to previous pages to see how the trick was done. I loved the way in which the shape of the cut-out tied in with the content. The colours are muted and gentle, in keeping with the warmth of the message in many ways. Many types of animals are included so children are able to recognise some and be introduced to others.

A lovely book and highly recommended for all ages from early years onwards.

As this book is shortlisted for the Kate Greenaway award there are a range of brilliant teaching resources available on the Shadowing website prepared by the Centre For Literacy in Primary Education. Please click on this link to access them.

You may also enjoy watching this interview with Britta Teckentrup.

This book is available to purchase in all good book shops, can be borrowed at your local library or can be bought online

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