By Author / Illustrator
Matt de la Pena, Christian Robinson, Christian Robinson
Early Readers & Young Fiction
Milo Imagines the World is a warm and richly satisfying story from the award-winning and New York Times bestselling picture book duo, about a little boy with a big imagination who learns that you can't know anyone just by looking at them. Set in a bustling city, and full of a family love that binds even in difficult circumstances.
Milo is on a train journey through the city with his older sister, looking at the faces of the other passengers and drawing pictures of their lives. The whiskered man with a crossword puzzle he imagines playing solitaire in a cluttered flat full of pets. The little boy in bright white trainers he imagines living in a castle with a moat and a butler. But when the little boy gets off at the same stop and joins the same queue as him, Milo realises that you can't judge by appearances and that we are all more alike than we are different: both boys are visiting their mothers in prison.
Matt de la Pena and Christian Robinson once again deliver a hugely powerful and enjoyable picture book, full of rich details both to look at and to talk about. Anyone who has ever travelled on public transport will relate to Milo's journey.
Milo takes a monthly Sunday train journey with his sister and, to get through the journey, he begins to use his imagination to create the most lovely pictures based on the passengers he sees - from the woman in the wedding dress to the crew of breakdancers. His drawings are colourful and his characters are whisked away to fantastical places - castles or floating through the sky in hot air balloons.
It is an inclusive book and it's not until the end of the story that this becomes apparent in Milo's pictures. The final pages also reveal where Milo's journey ends and who he is visiting (his mum in prison / detention centre.)
I loved that the book described Milo's feelings about the journey describing him feeling 'like a shook-up soda'. There is so much scope for using the book in the classroom from discussing feelings and using your imagination to drawing pictures of things you see on your journeys to school. However, I would be careful about discussions around prison or detentions centres.
Picture book / Reviewed by Emma Nelson, teacher
Suggested Reading Age 5+