Author/ Illustrator: Ezra Jack Keats
Publishing Information: the Penguin Group, 1969.
Number of Pages: 32
Genre: Non-fiction, Picture book
Two boys Archie and Peter find a pair of goggles. They like it very much. However, some big boys appear and threat Archie and Peter for their goggles. Archie and Peter try to escape with the help of their smart dog Willie. Finally, they fool the big boys and run away with their precious goggles.
The main characters of the book are African Americans. The text serves as a door to for children to explore the life of minorities. I found the book problematic in the following two ways. First of all, although the story is about African Americans, I do not think it can count as a multicultural book because there is hardly any cultural elements presented in either the text or the illustrations. The story only exposes the dark side of African American society. The whole book is about two boys running away from bully and blackmail. Besides, I notice the poor environmental condition in the illustrations. Readers might get wrong impressions about African Americans. That is how stereotypes are made. Also, younger children who read the book might develop a fear for older children which leads to a result that they may be reluctant to school or any other places where there are children older than them.
Perceptually, the first part of the book uses a lot of dark colors to demonstrate the depression and the confined situation Archie and Peter face. But after they escape successfully and save the goggles, the main colors of the illustrations become brighter which depict free and joyful atmosphere. The pictures are not framed so that readers can have a view from within. There are a lot of dialogs in the text which make the story vivid. Structurally, text and images overlap so readers can easily combine the text and illustrations together. There are not many ideologies conveyed through this book. The only thing I notice as a takeaway is to keep calm and be brave in front of danger. Use your judgement and find the best way to save yourself.