This must be one of the most philosophical titles for children’s books, or at least in my home library.
When Wild Crane Press sent over the book, How Long is Eternity?, I was a little apprehensive at first as to how the book would turn out and whether the story would be engaging. (Click to read last week’s book review of Kuafu chases the Sun)
This story is loosely adapted from The Shepherd Boy, a fairy tale written by the Brothers Grimm.
The King asked the shepherd boy,
‘How many seconds are there in eternity?’
The shepherd boy replied,
‘In Lower Pomerania, there exists a diamond mountain. This mountain measures two miles in height, two miles in breadth, and two miles in depth. Every hundred years, a bird will come to the mountain and sharpen its beak on it. By the time the mountain has been worn away completely, the first second of eternity will have passed.’
The first thing that caught my attention was that it was a bilingual book (English version on one side; flip over to read the Chinese version) and it looks very much like an accordion book. And when it opens up all the way…
it’s really extremely long!
It’s also aesthetically very appealing –
I’m sure you notice that the English version is in black and white while the Chinese one is bursting with vibrant colours and I really love the glittery portions of the covers. So shallow, I know.
Anyway, I read the story a few times over, and revisited the book once every other day and I realised each time I read the book, I noticed something different. You might discover all of these at once if the book had your undivided attention. But of course, my multi-tasking between getting food on the table, rubbish off the floor, homeschool and just making sure everything is in order and everyone is comfortable, meant that my literary brain was a little dusty and needed a couple of jolts to get it to work.
So what’s so special about this book? Here’s where I show you that my brain is still functional and I’m way more profound than how I appear normally. 😀
How would you explain eternity to children? Or how do you explain the concept of ‘I’ll love you forever’? I’m sure at some point we’ve been asked what does ‘forever’ mean.
How Long is Eternity? is a clever little book because even if the child is too young to comprehend the plot, there are other ways that eternity can be explained using the book.
Remember I said that the book is extremely long when you open it up fully? Yeah, so eternity can be explained as something that really goes on and on, though technically, without end. My kids tried to convince me to let them walk on the book like a balancing beam, though I’m sure mine won’t be the only ones that’d be tempted. They’ve never quite seen a book that opens up that long!
Also, the book doesn’t quite read normally as others – it has a unique four-direction text presentation. You have to keep turning the book either 90° or 180° to read the text or look at the pictures.
The fact that you have to keep rotating the book during the reading experience and how the book actually can also be opened up into a complete circle also reinforces the neverending nature of eternity.
The dull black and white is juxtaposed with the bright hues and coupled with the touches of outstanding glitter, eternity is something that offers us kind of a bit of everything, but perhaps not all of it at once.
My verdict? It’s a book that will grow on you and your kids. Read it a few times, you’d understand what I mean.
Wild Crane Press is kindly sponsoring ONE copy of How Long is Eternity? to my readers.
As usual, to win a copy of the book, follow the instructions in the Rafflecopter widget and be sure to keep a lookout for next week’s book giveaway!
Important note: Winners have to collect the prize from the Wild Crane Press office or simply authorise someone else to pick up the book. Call the office to arrange a timing that works for you (alternate Saturdays are available) or simply purchase a book from the Wild Crane Press website to get the books couriered over at no cost to you (P.S. from 15 January, there will be a 50% storewide discount for the books on Wild Crane Press).
Wild Crane Press
33 Ubi Avenue 3
#06-37 Vertex Tower A
+65 6659 8839
How Long is Eternity? can be obtained directly from Wild Crane Press and members can get it at a 15% discount. Creating an account on the site confers this membership and the reduced prices will be displayed automatically.
Unleash the bookaholic in you – from 15 January, there will also be a 50% storewide discount for the books on Wild Crane Press! For orders above SGD50, free delivery of the books will be included.
Look out for more book giveaways kindly sponsored by Wild Crane Press in the next few weeks!
Wild Crane Press
Address: 33 Ubi Avenue 3
#06-37 Vertex Tower A
Disclosure: I was given a complimentary copy of the book by Wild Crane Press. No monetary compensation was received. All opinions are mine.