Ever feel that our lives are being taken over by technology? How many of you have been sitting at a meal and everyone around the table is on their phones instead of talking to each other? Bix lives in a possible future world where the Eyes (big floating eyeball gizmos) help people with everything. Really...everything - brushing their teeth, combing their hair, even choosing what they will read on their screens at school. But Bix follows a squeaky little creature through a hole in a wall and discovers another city. There she and Rat find a library and Bix learns about "art, and animals...And friendship." When she brings these new ideas back to her city, it begins a change in the way people think - a revolution.
The artwork shows Bix and her family living in a Jetsons type world, with the Eyes omnipresent. When she tumbles through the crack in the wall, her path zigzags back and forth across the spread as she travels down, down, down. The library she discovers has stone lions guarding the front steps (sound familiar?). I love the way she makes that her home base, returning there from her explorations each day and using one of the shelves as a bed. And when she returns to her family, the zigzag journey repeats in reverse as she climbs back to the city above. If you are one of those folks who pays attention to the endpapers (yes, I do), then these give a hint of the storyline. The front shows a large group of people all looking alike and paying attention to the small screens in their hands. The back shows a large group, all different, but all watching and listening as Bix reads to them from a pile of books.
Although this is a picture book, so the story is much shorter, it reminds me of The Chronicles of Gwendolyn Gray. Gwendolyn also has a device that tries to control everything in the city where she lives, she escapes and finds out there are other ways to do things, and she comes back to try and set everyone else free. If you have a reader who enjoys City Under the City, then introduce them to Gwendolyn.
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