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Sylvia Van Ommen
Winged Chariot Press
Sep 2005
Made available in the English language through Winged Chariot Press, a unique publishing venture supported by the Arts Council England and aimed at brining European picture books to the English market, �Sweets� is Dutch author, Sylvia van Ommen�s debut picture-book. It�s two-tone appearance is misleadingly unadorned and simplistic, for though instantly accessible, there is nothing simple about this narrative!

Joris and Oscar are friends who arrange to meet together in the park to share sweets and drinks and to ponder and share their thoughts and beliefs. Close examination of the home environs and world-views unique to both friends show us that Joris is drawn towards function whereas Oscar is drawn towards aesthetics.

These differences are indicative of the class antagonisms and struggles that Marx and Engels outlined within their �Communist Manifesto� but union is enabled between the two because of technological advancement � both friends are able to communicate with one another through use of mobile telephony.

Like many a philosopher before him, once in the park Oscar poses a conundrum that opens the gates to metaphysical enquiry:

�Do you think there is something?�

So begins the friends� eschatological enquiries about heaven, acceptance into an after-life, familiarity and of the unknown. If this sounds pretentious or outside the realms of the plausible for a picture book, at heart this is a deeply perceptive and sensitive story about the relationship between two friends, that relationship's endurance and its respective partners' ability to share.

It should be obligatory to read "Sweets"� it makes an excellent talking point which spring-boards to some fascinating debate. Here, in truth, is a book worthy of a cult following!

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This page contains a single entry by Jacob published on April 13, 2006 2:05 PM.

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