The Great Realisation by Tomos Roberts

The Great Realisation by Tomos Roberts

With art by Nomoco

Harper Collins Children’s books 2020

ISBN: 9781460759806

Age range 4+

Reviewed by Cath Young

The Great Realisation by Tomos Robertson is a poem that in part explains the adult world, its structure and flaws, and the upheaval caused by the 2020 pandemic in a way that children can understand.    It is bound to prompt many thoughtful questions from young listeners. Some of these may make adults uncomfortable, for this is an expose` of greed and disconnection, the darkest verse exploring the concept that leaders “taught us why its best not to upset the lobbies- more convenient to die”.  But ultimately it is a hopeful tale, a little like The Lorax, of humanity saving itself and the world. As such it looks back on the year of 2020 as a year in which change was born from suffering.  It promotes a vision of the future where the earth is cared for and regenerates, and families and communities are reconnected.  It has a timeless rhythmic tone, like a lullaby, with a first-person narrator whose poetic monologue is punctuated by questions from the child he is reading to.

The illustrations are simple, dreamy watercolours. Pictures of cities and people seem to emerge from splashes of colour and are further defined by simple lines.

There is a short film to accompany the book on youtube.  It has a shot which some young viewers may find disturbing, that of a large dead fish washed up on the ocean, with plastic washing around it.  But it provides another way of understanding the text and older children may also like to engage with this film and find it a useful springboard for discussions about the changes they witnessed in 2020.

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