Shirley Marr's Reviews > The World According to Warren

The World According to Warren by Craig Silvey
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Jul 08, 12

bookshelves: aussie-picture-books
Recommended to Shirley by: Mel

I love crossovers. I love seeing characters pop up in another work, perhaps seen from a different point of view or perspective, allowing a much richer experience of a certain fictional universe. Rhubarb is one of my favourite Aussie adult novels of all time, written by Craig Silvey of Jasper Jones fame. The story is about Eleanor Rigby (ah, look at all the lonely people...), a blind young woman guided through her dark world by the perpetually protective and hungry Warren. So I was over the moon to find that the work has a delightful companion piece - a picture book called The World According to Warren .

Told from the dog's point of view as opposed to Eleanor's, the story of Rhubarb is made accessible for a younger audience, concentrating instead on the theme of friendship as opposed to the novel's one of isolation. Both pieces ultimately accumulating toward the universal message of unquestioning love and understanding. Craig Silvey has done a marvelous job condensing his original novel - in some places rearranging and re-imagining - so that this particular book takes on a parallel story all of its own.

Like Shaun Tan's work, this book is suitable for anyone aged 1 to 100. Children will enjoy the story on face value and the charming value of Warren, whereas adults will enjoy the deeper story behind the surface words. Those who have read and loved Rhubarb will probably be beside themselves (well I was). I can't describe the feeling at seeing key scenes in the novel come alive in art, from Warren's dislike of seagulls to Eleanor's meeting with Cello Boy. Eleanor's nightmares, rendered in a collage, made my face and heart melt and puddle into a pool of tears. The little cameos from certain "supporting characters" made me smile.

The images in this picture book by Sonia Martinez are absolutely beautiful. I'm no art expert, but there's something undeniably rich in the oil paints and also the use of multi-media that range from comic book frames to propaganda poster art. Dotted with key, lock and music note motifs that thread the pages together, the only way I can best describe it is as this: emotive art.







I love Craig Silvey so much that I've made him a mini Warren! What do you think?



I couldn't find a heart-shaped lock this tiny, so he will have to surfice with a little vintage heart.

I'm waiting to meet him in person so I can present it to him like some crazed, deluded fangirl.

I only have two things to say: Read Rhubarb. Read The World According to Warren.

This review also appears here on my blog Books On Marrs
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message 1: by [deleted user] (new)

Gorgeous illustrations+ Aussie author+ mentioning Shaun Tan= MUST READ.

The stuffed doggie is adorable! Love the review, Shirley. :)


Shirley Marr Thanks Leanne!

I LOVE Shaun Tan too. Every time I read The Arrival my eyes just well up so badly.

Goodluck on tracking this one down!


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