By Henry Blackshaw
Published by Cicada Publishing ISBN 9781908714688
Review by Louise Date
The Inner Child is a short but sweet book all about that little person inside all of us that feels, hurts and plays as hard as ever: our inner child. Created by Henry Blackshaw, this book is dedicated to the inner child inside his own parents; something that most people will never have considered their parents to have. Yet, inside all of us, the echoes of who we first were still help us through our lives.
The illustrations all follow the same format, and feature adults going about hosting their inner child, shown as a pale and pencilled smaller version dictating emotion and sometimes interrupting everyday life with the thoughts that adults daren’t have. Children are entreated to stop and observe the children around them at all times, hidden in plain sight. Wanting the latest gadget is akin to a child wanting a new toy, but adults justify that they ‘really need’ it, whereas children have no such qualms. Nasty adults have a nasty child inside, and a scared child is inside every scared adult.
The illustrations are naïve and colourful, with a great deal of humour shown in the creation of each image. The ‘inner children’ are a little bit pale and ghostly; but it does provide a good juxtaposition between the colourful but struggling adults, and their white infant companions who demonstrate more character and expression in ways we feel too self-conscious to do. The use of line is very simple, and the whole book is kept succinct by the brief text on each page which keeps the point relevant and relatable. The use of watercolour and the primary- coloured cover make it very eye-catching to children, and the font used is deliberately child-like and open.
It’s a very quick read, and a very brief view into growing up (but not losing your child), but one that will illuminate the murky and confusing world of adulthood for big and small people alike.