It may never be clear why adults pretend to be busy or stressed, but truths about love, life, and living in the moment are humorously recounted in this cautionary tale for all ages. --FOREWORD REVIEW The artistic device of actually showing the children inside the grown-ups adds an unexpected, visually arresting element to this wonderful book. -- SCHOOL LIBRARY JOURNAL BLOG REVIEW An observation of human behaviour that resonates with the stresses of the modern age. Dear Kids, Did you know that all adults have a child inside them? They try to hide them by pretending to be busy and stressed all the time, but as you know, it’s impossible to keep children hidden. Sometimes they just have to come out and PLAY! This is a delightful little book that will appeal to adults and children equally, explaining why adults behave in the strange ways that they do, and how important it is to preserve the place of playfulness and joy inside all of us.
BOOKROO REVIEW: Blackshaw depicts each inner child as a waist-height, black-and-white individual inside each adult, impressively matching a child-like personality and style to the adult versions. In one disturbingly insightful scene, an adult boss is shown yelling at an employee while the narrator says, “Nasty adults . . . have a nasty child inside”; the boss’s inner child is angrily shaking his fist while a stench emanates from his diaper. It’s a remarkably successful attempt to reduce the complexities of adulthood to humorously fit—in both length and concept—in the pages of a simple picture book.
GOODREADS REVIEW: While many youngsters may think adults have always been the way they are now, this book's minimal text and colorful illustrations show that that just isn't the case. Introducing the idea of the inner child in the adults we grow up to be, touching on the related idea that that inner child often makes us behave the way we do. Even though an adult may seem stolid and quiet on the outside, that inner child may be frolicking or longing to frolic on the inside, which might lead the adult to behave a certain way. Not only does the book remind readers to celebrate the joys of being a child, but it also might remind some adult readers to return to some of their more playful days and activities. The author/illustrator has even included an image of himself with his inner child. While young readers may not understand the heavier message inherent in the idea of an inner child, they will embrace the idea of seizing the moment and enjoying youthfulness while they can.
SLJ BLOG REVIEW: This book could just talk about how, yes, grown-ups were once kids too, you know. But the artistic device of actually showing the children inside the grown-ups adds an unexpected, visually arresting element to this wonderful book.
FOREWORD REVIEW: What if the childlike aspects of our unconscious minds were visible for all to see? Soft watercolors capture adults in business and workout attire, shadowed by sketchy black-and-white younger versions of themselves who reveal the joys and rewards of embracing one’s inner child. It may never be clear why adults pretend to be busy or stressed, but truths about love, life, and living in the moment are humorously recounted in this cautionary tale for all ages.
THE AOI REVIEW: 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.
KIRKUS REVIEW: An earnest message for (mostly) young readers: Adults may look grown up, but they don’t leave the children they were behind.
BOOKS FOR KEEPS REVIEW: The author of this unusual picture book claims that it is both for kids and for adults, and so it is. Pictures in colour of adults on white backgrounds with smaller, ghostly versions of themselves (the inner children) are shown doing all sorts of things that are ‘child-like’, such as pretending they are okay when they’re not, or being silly when they dance, or being afraid or nasty to others, or talking in baby voices when they’re in love. The integrated text, done in pen and ink, adds to the charm, and there is real awareness of relationships in the whole – humour too.
This is an original idea, imagined in an original way, and it will appeal to both children and parents.
YLG REVIEW: Small, independent publishers have recently been at the forefront of commissioning innovative illustrated material to support building empathy and developing emotional resilience. Cicada Books adds to this with a quirky picture book, Melbourne-based artist Henry Blackshaw’s The Inner Child. The importance of making time to play and be joyful is conveyed in this open letter to both children and adults. The value of cherishing our inner child, the lessons learned in childhood and that fact that adults feel fear and anger too is delivered with subtle charm and limited text. There are positive messages about friendship, love and growing old. Bullies come in all shapes and sizes; “Nasty adults…have a nasty child inside.” Blackshaw encourages his readers, regardless of age, to look beneath the surface; his adult characters dance, stride and ride across the pages in vivid colour while their child selves are superimposed in pencil. Perhaps The Inner Child’s key message is about tolerance; preserving the inner child in each of us, and listening to their voices, makes us kinder and more thoughtful adults.
READ IT DADDY REVIEW: We're always instantly attracted to new picture books that have a bit of quirkiness and eccentricity about them, particularly if they present something original and fun. "The Inner Child" by Henry Blackshaw absolutely sings out to all those parents who (like me) love messing around with lego with their kids, or getting messy with finger painting, or (ahem) love new toys and gadgets and absolutely MUST have them. Henry's fun book presents this as a self-help manual for kids, informing them of a fact they may have completely missed. Inside every adult there is also a child - and quite often that child springs out at unexpected moments. Sometimes our inner child expresses our fears and anxieties (but honestly, who could possibly be scared of such adorable kitty cats as the ones in this book?) Sometimes people's inner children are horrible shouty poopy-butted monsters (again as deftly demonstrated by Henry in this book). But above all, now and again, it's good to let our inner kids go on the rampage a bit. Have fun, enjoy life, and enjoy the world - you only get one shot at this so even if you get a second chance at enjoying a second childhood, you grumpy adults, just do that thing! A philosophy we can all get behind! A quirky, original and brilliantly presented story of how we adults aren't always quite as grown up as we pretend to be.
LINDA'S BOOK BAG REVIEW: The message behind The Inner Child is glorious and one we’d all do well to remember whatever our age. Henry Blackshaw explores how who we are as a child affects who we become as an adult and whilst the book helps children understand how adults think and feel, it reminds adults to allow their playfulness and childlike qualities to emerge too. This premise is especially well supported by the fabulous illustrations that literally show the inner child inside. I thoroughly appreciated the range of gender and ethnicity presented as well as the fact that children are shown that adults have hopes, fears and desires just like children do. I do prefer lower case writing in children’s books but I liked the handwritten quality of the text because I think children will be able to relate to it. The Inner Child is a helpful and entertaining book for use with children of all ages!
READING ZONE TEACHER REVIEW: This book is more like a letter from the author to children. The pictures are entertaining and there isn't a lot of text to this book, but there is a 'lesson' to be learned about enjoying being a child because it makes being an adult more fun. This is a nice book to give as a gift; I'm not certain that it has a place to be used in the classroom, other than as a story to be enjoyed - and those stories are just as important.
IT'S ALL ABOUT STORIES REVIEW: A book for kids about what it's like to be an adult by Henry Blackshaw. I was drawn to the illustrations in this picture book, each one of an adult and their inner child, as well as the overarching message that looking after your inner child and listening to them, makes being an adult so much more fun.
MY SHELVES ARE FULL REVIEW: As we grow up responsibilities take hold and we need to act like adults. However, this book encourages us to remember what it feels like to dance, to run and to have fun! Let your inner child out and continue to do all these amazing things anyway. This funny book shows adults and their inner children in a new and original way. One that is sure to delight readers of all ages!