Culture and Society

Roqué’s Sunday Book Review: The Wanderer by Peter Van Den Ende

Today’s book recommendation is for no ordinary book.  I’d say it is a children’s book for all ages—a whimsical, spellbinding, and imaginative tour-de-force!

The Wanderer by Peter Van Den Ende is one of those rare books in which its author and illustrator are the same person.  (This is not often the case, and by my estimation, this work is of the same caliber as that of the legendary author and illustrator Chris Van Allsburg.) Peter Van Den Ende has crafted a marvelous tale in which the detailed images tell the entire story. No words are needed.  

In its story, a tiny paper boat sets off on an epic voyage across an enormous ocean filled with strange creatures. The boat floats and scurries along while getting much-needed help in the most unlikely and magical ways.  The artwork is meticulously detailed and awe-inspiring.  Each page and vignette can stand alone and still be more than enough.

I am a big fan of children’s books, and I have a small collection of ones that are unusual and incredibly beautiful. This book checks all of my boxes and has a permanent home in my collection.  To me, a children’s book is a work of art. The good ones tell a story poignantly in as succinct and eloquent a manner as possible. The best ones are fueled by striking imagery that is both visionary and skillfully rendered. 

If you know of a child who would love a book as amazing as this, I highly recommend that you give that child this book. He or she will find their own imaginations wandering out into the most fantastical places fearlessly and boldly—just like the little paper boat in this book and just as every child’s (and adult’s) mind unabashedly should.

—Roqué

(P.S.—I am what most people would consider a grown-ass man, and I bought this book for MYSELF. You don’t need to get this for a kid.  If you are an art lover like me, you’ll love this book. It is literally EVERYTHING.)

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