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The Wall in the Middle of the Book

4.24  ·  Rating details ·  2,340 ratings  ·  453 reviews
A foolish knight is certain that his side of the wall is the safe side in this meta picture book.

There's a wall in the middle of the book, and our hero—a young knight—is sure that the wall protects his side of the book from the dangers of the other side—like an angry tiger and giant rhino, and worst of all, an ogre who would gobble him up in a second! But our knight doesn'
Hardcover, 42 pages
Published October 2nd 2018 by Dial Books
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Average rating 4.24  · 
Rating details
 ·  2,340 ratings  ·  453 reviews

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Nov 27, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: story-time
It's a metaphor. About morons and their damn walls. ...more
Richie Partington
Jun 26, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: picturebooks
Richie’s Picks: THE WALL IN THE MIDDLE OF THE BOOK by Jon Agee, Dial, October 2018, 48p., ISBN: 978-0-525-55545-2

“You got to look outside your eyes
You got to think outside your brain
You got to walk outside your life
To where the neighborhood changes”
-- Ani DiFranco (1993)

“Mr. Gorbachev. Tear down this wall”
-- Ronald Reagan, speaking at the Berlin Wall (1987)

“I’m talking about precast going up probably thirty-five to forty feet up in the the air. That’s high. That’s a real wall.”
-- Donald Trump (
Denia  Books & Baubles
Jan 04, 2019 rated it it was amazing
This book is so good. If you ever want to read a children's book that is political but without giving too much away, then read this one. It's pretty much trashing Donald Trump's wall and I love it! ...more
Dov Zeller
Jan 05, 2019 rated it really liked it
Shelves: kids, picture-book, humor
Some very meaningful commentary in this book. It's actually quite deep. And interestingly constructed with the wall standing at the crease of each page and an inch or so on either side, splitting the book so that the left page is one side of the wall and the right page the other. Definitely a contemporary cousin of The Monster at the End of This Book. (And maybe having a non-human protagonist would have been a bit better in terms of message? Because right now I'm finding it hard to process the f ...more
Oct 29, 2018 rated it liked it
Recommends it for: Jon Agee Fans / Readers Looking for Picture-Books About Fear of the Unknown
A tiny knight celebrates the existence of the wall that stands in the middle of this new picture-book from author/illustrator Jon Agee, convinced that it is protecting him from the dangerous creatures on the other side. Little does he realize that the rising water on his own side, and the dangerous creature it brings, pose more of a threat. Fortunately, those on the other side of the wall are not as ungenerous as the knight...

As a long-time fan of Agee's picture-books, I was quite excited to see
Jun 29, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: children-s-books
Sometimes, the invisible generates a fear that becomes greater than us. We focus so much on Othering that we neglect to recognize that the other side of that wall might offer something safe and good... something magnificent. Worse, we focus so intently on our fear of what might exist in the other side of the wall that we fail to see the very real danger we face. This book is extraordinarily well-written. It can be read as a fantastical story, or it can be imagined in beautifully metaphorical way ...more
Jan 09, 2020 rated it really liked it
Small children will love telling the part of the story that's revealed in the pictures, and guessing what will happen next. They might be a bit scared about what's happening on the knight's side of the wall, though.

Jon Agee usually writes with more subtlety, more layers of meaning. This really is for children. It's re-readable, for parents, but not so great for adults on their own. The rhino being scared of the mouse, as a reference to the traditional elephant being scared of mice, is the only '
Nov 19, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Okay, I have to admit it. I was at the NCTE (National Council of Teachers of English) conference, and my friend was standing in line to get this book and have it signed by the author-illustrator Jon Agee, and I was meeting her. As I stood there keeping her company, I thought “Why not? This is a picture book. It’s free. I have grandsons and work at a K-8 school, and Mr. Agee looks pleasant” and—yes, technically, I cut in line—I got a signed book.
What a find! The Wall in the Middle of the Book is
La Coccinelle
Sep 01, 2019 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: children
Meh. I guess the premise of this is sort of cute, but it didn't really excite me. Kids might like it more than I did, though.

There's a knight trying to put a brick back in the wall that's in the middle of the book. The wall protects him from all the dangers on the other side... or so he thinks. He breaks the fourth wall to tell the reader all about how he's glad there's a wall for safety. Meanwhile, the reader will notice all the perils on the knight's side of the wall that he doesn't see... bec
Nov 16, 2018 rated it really liked it
Ah! I thought I was kind of over the meta picture books, but this one does a really good job with the "book as object" approach. The gutter contains a brick wall, and the little knight who narrates is on the "right" side. Or is he?? Lots of humorous details will clue in alert readers and may spark a discussion about judging what we don't know.

For another book that uses the gutter to great effect, try "This book just ate my dog."
Dec 27, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: picture-books

This book really surprised me. I have read many, many Jon Agee books over the years. The Wall in the Middle of the Book, in my opinion, stands out from the pack with power and truth for all ages.

Watch, read, or listen to the news and then read this book. It says it all in a simple, straight forward way. Absolutely BRILLIANT!!!

Highly recommended.

Mary Lee
Oct 20, 2018 rated it it was amazing
More #kidlit commentary on our political climate. We let assumptions blind us and divide us.
Jan 31, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: teaching
A very big hit with my first graders. Loud guffaws and shrieks, “Look at what’s happening on YOUR side of the wall!” Indeed.
In Jon Agee's metafictional picturebook, a misguided knight builds a wall to protect his side of the book from the OTHER side of the book and its "dangerous" inhabitants. If only he knew where the real danger lurks...

Sounds familiar? A perfect read during the 2020 US Presidential Election week :)
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First sentence: There's a wall in the middle of the book. And it's a good thing. The wall protects this side of the book...from the other side of the book. This side of the book is safe. The other side is not.

Premise/plot: A knight is convinced that his side of the wall is safe...but is it really? Could the knights have his facts wrong?

My thoughts: I really enjoyed this one. It is a quirky--but fun--read. Adults may enjoy this one just as much--if not more--than children. I loved seeing the acti
Deb (Readerbuzz) Nance
Oct 16, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: cybils, picture-book
A knight finds comfort in a wall that separates his side of the book from the other, more dangerous side. Until his side becomes not-so-good....

A funny, kid-friendly little story full of what’s-going-to-happen-nexts.
Apr 11, 2019 rated it really liked it
Great use of book design - the gutter of the book defines the wall with the action taking place either side. Great pace and contrasting dramatic and comic possibilities. Watercolour illustrations and style reminiscent of Maurice Sendak.
Emily Scheinman
Love it!
Oct 30, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Such a great book with a very necessary underlining message. Excellent.
Nov 12, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: children-s
Brilliant messages are delivered in a well written and charmingly illustrated way. Love the subplot. Good for preschoolers to adult.
Jackie Ostrowicki
Nov 25, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: eva-and-me
A muted, yet clear, lesson on what we think safety is and what it actually might be. A wall separates a book--one side has a small knight, the other side has an ogre. The knight thinks the ogre will eat him. As water rises behind him, the knight revels in his safety. Halfway through the book, he's caught up in the water--whereupon the ogre rescues him, reaching over the wall, and then showing him the other side of the wall.

Is the book a social lesson or just one on perception? Either way, it wo
Shaye Miller
Oct 30, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Super cute book showcasing two stories going on at once — one on each side of the book. At first, the narrator (who looks to be a young boy in armor), is so happy to be protected on the left side of the book. On the right side are scary wild animals and a dangerous ogre. But before too long, the narrator is trapped on the left side of the book and he needs rescuing. How oh how will he survive?! I love this one — it’s always fun for young readers to discover a big secret even before the narrator ...more
Feb 10, 2019 rated it liked it
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Tyler Jones
Nov 30, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: childrens-books
Do yourself a favor and read this, even if you don't have kids.

The idea that fear of the unknown can cause us to act in ways that actually do us more harm than good might seem like a pretty advanced concept to turn into a children's story, but Agee does the trick with a simple tale that will make sense to even the very young.
Kellee Moye
Fear can lead us to shutting ourselves out of some amazing experiences as the knight in this book learns first hand. Just because you've heard a certain thing or a person looks a certain way, you cannot make assumptions. What a great lesson, and I truly loved how it was implemented! ...more
Dec 17, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: picture
Walls to divide people and things are just never a good idea. Jon Agee does a great job with simple text and simple illustrations with a strong message. I think kids will enjoy shouting out the “dangers” that are happening on the left side of the wall.
Edward Sullivan
Sep 15, 2018 rated it it was amazing
A clever, amusing work of metafiction.
Oct 05, 2018 rated it it was amazing
I loved this book! Jon Agee is spot on!
Oct 05, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Simple and sweet. Inspired the continuing "grass is greener" conversation. Would be fun for storytime. ...more
Sarah Davis
Clever, funny, meta without being obnoxious. I know Trump doesn’t read, but hopefully he can manage this picture book about a Wall. I think he could learn a lot from it.
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I grew up in Nyack, New York, just up the street from the Hudson River. In our house, there was always an art project going on.

My early drawings were very animated: a lot of stuff zipping around, airplanes, racing cars, football players. No surprise my first published drawing was a pack of rats running along a highway (The Rat Race). I did that for the New York Times Op Ed page when I was still in

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