The premise of this delightful picture book (for older readers!) is that Sam is over sharing a bedroom with his brother and would like to block out the irritating behaviour (playing on a phone!) which keeps him awake at night. Having heard that Donald Trump has an idea which might suit, he suggests to his parents that he build a wall in his bedroom. Unsurprisingly, they are not convinced. So he writes to Donald Trump to sound him out.
The particular genius in this story is that each time Sam writes a letter, there’s a corresponding illustration of DT determinedly avoiding receiving said letters. You can tell who it is, because of the yellow hair, but you never see his face – he’s always with his back to you, or with the face obscured. Brilliant politicial commentary right there, for the observant reader!!
Sam does try hard to get his point across to his parents, who counter his arguments with more reasonable suggestions which don’t involve structural alterations of their sons’ bedroom. As the story goes on, he gradually concedes that there may be more than one way to solve his problem, and by the end of course it all works out extremely well, but you’ll have to read it to find out how.
Sophie Siers has done a great job with this book. The language is reasonably sophisticated and very believable. The throwaway comments from Sam’s mum are spot-on, and it’s easy to see how Sam got so irritated with his brother.
The illustrations are very clever, and also very un-Kiwi. Anne Villeneuve is a Canadian illustrator/author, and her work is much more Quentin Blake than Gavin Bishop; the style works very well for this story.
All in all, highly recommended.
Reviewed by Sue Esterman
Dear Donald Trump
by Sophie Siers and Anne Villeneuve
Published by Millwood Press