We travel on the subway with young boy Milo and his sister, on a journey they make every month. It’s a trip that causes complex emotions…”as usual, Milo is a shook-up soda. Excitement stacked on top of worry on top of confusion on top of love. To keep himself from bursting, he studies the faces around him and makes pictures of their lives”.
The delicious and engaging illustrations in this picture book for young children draw us into Milo’s world. Imagining the stories of the strangers he sees on the train, he assumes that a smartly dressed boy lives in a castle with servants, and that a woman in a wedding dress is off to marry a man a city hall. But why do we assume these things about people we don’t know? Can Milo reimagine the stories he gives to people?
When it emerges that he and the other boy are both visiting their mums in prison, Milo finds out that there are so many ways to imagine the lives of others.
One of the most moving and cheerful things for me about Milo Imagines the World was the effortless portrayal of family love transcending and enduring through imprisonment. I also liked that Milo processed what was going on through drawing pictures of what he was thinking, which his mum got to enjoy during his visit.
Not even remotely preachy, this book is a complete delight. And it might make you see your own tube journey, and the people you’re sharing it with, in a much more interesting way.