Book Review: Caged by Duncan Annand

Caged by Duncan Annand together with Emma’s story

Today I am reviewing the wordless picture book Caged by Duncan Annand (Tiny Owl).   Helping me is my daughter Emma (in italics), who has really enjoyed this book. And I am 5.

The pictures tell the story of two men who are building a palace out of caged parrots. The pictures are impressive. Looking on is a bluebird who, after watching the palace grow and grow, decides to take matters into her own hands (or wings!). She takes it upon herself to free the parrots, catching the men in the cage in the process.

As a wordless picture book, the whole story is conveyed through the illustrations. Duncan Annand’s use of colour is very effective, with line drawings for the men, the cage and surroundings contrasting with the bright prime colours of the birds.

We don’t often look at wordless picture books, so as Emma opened the first page, she looked at me asking “where are the words?” I suggested that she was being given the pictures but that she had to come up with her own story. And that was it, she was off! She got her paper and pencil out and set about creating her own story. She’s currently written about 4.5 sides of A4, all written her beautiful five-year-old handwriting complete with very phonetic spellings. It is amazing! She has been so inspired by the pictures and keeps finding new aspects of the story to add. She’s wanted to take Caged with her everywhere she goes so she can keep on writing.


With my involvement with Derbyshire Refugee Solidarity, I’m also interested to see that Caged has been chosen by IBBY UK to be included in the library at Lampedusa, Italy, where there are large numbers of refugees. I can see the appeal, allowing people from different cultures and with different languages to interact with the illustrations in their own ways.

Many thanks to Tiny Owl for providing us with this copy of Caged.

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