Solove’s underlying theme and catchy rhymes sit perfectly on the cusp of children’s and middle-grade reading levels, and Beckwith’s eye-catching and brilliantly detailed illustrations will inspire young imaginations to soar. Solove’s background in privacy law is on clear display through the clever manipulation of the Eyemonger—who preaches “If you have nothing to hide you have nothing to fear”—until he at last understands that inspiration and creativity come to a standstill under his vigilance. The topic and the somewhat horrific countenance of the Eyemonger will be too intense for some young readers but will likely spark interest and discussion in middle-grade audiences.
Beckwith’s evocative illustrations create a gaslit, vaguely steampunk mood that will remind readers of classic adventure tales even as the story takes on complex themes of consent and creativity. Despite the divergence from more traditional storybook lessons, the concept of government overreach presented in this uniquely cautionary fantasy will educate children and their caregivers as well.
Takeaway: A beautifully illustrated and curious tale cautioning readers of all ages about the importance of privacy.
Great for fans of: Kobi Yamada’s What Do You Do With A Problem? and Chris Riddell’s My Little Book of Big Freedoms.
Design and typography: A-
Marketing copy: B-