The Mask that Loved to Count

by | Sep 22, 2021 | Book Review, Fiction, Picture Book, Translation

The Mask that Loved to Count (cover)

Book Details

The Mask that Loved to Count
Luo Xi, transl. Helen Wang. London: New Classics Press, pb, 978 1 6407 4118 8, 2020, £10.99, 32pp.
Picture book, fiction, 4-7 years

This lively illustrated book translated from Chinese is an interesting and hope-filled look at the coronavirus pandemic to be read and explored with younger children.

The special mask, a N95, goes on a journey from being bought in the pharmacy to being taken home to a young boy where he learns about the virus, what people can do and how he and other masks can save lives. He is then taken by the boy’s father to a hospital many miles away and passed on to a young boy who eventually recovers from the virus. The mask is not used during the story, but he learns that masks can bring hope to people and save lives.

Throughout his journey, the mask counts lots of things; people buying masks, time, donations. The idea of the mask counting everything is a little ambiguous but when it is read within the context of the author’s idea (the counting reflects the race against time to fight the virus and save lives) it makes sense. In addition, the text refers to the virus as an epidemic and not a pandemic which is the word that most children will have heard so this may need explaining.

The illustrations are engaging but there is no racial diversity. This book tackles a very current, difficult and emotional subject with care and in a safe way with a strong emphasis on kindness, hope and love. It is a sound read for anyone wanting to explore coronavirus with children.

Review by Suzie A