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An ingenious ode to letter-writing

Back-and-Forth

Gerda Dendooven

A boy writes a letter to a girl. He misses her and can’t wait to hear back from her. But just as he’s about to post the letter, a sudden gust of wind takes off with it. The letter ends up in the hands of various characters: those of a man with a suitcase, a female police officer, a refugee, a child… Meanwhile, the young man’s dog starts chasing the love letter too, determined to deliver it to the girl. At the end of the book, the girl herself is also writing a letter. She gives it to her pigeon, which traverses the book in the opposite direction: from back to front.

A multi-layered and dynamic adventure, full of surprises and ingenuity
Ricochet Jeunes

And so the last page becomes the first. While reading in the other direction, you discover just how ingenious the text is: the lines in the letters can be interpreted in different ways, depending on the direction you read the book in. Yet their message remains the same: I miss you, write to me. ‘Back-and-Forth’ stands out for Gerda Dendooven’s distinctive and humorous style, an original concept, joyful colours and a frenetic pace, making readers feel as if they, too, are swept along by the wind.

Plenty of humour and imagination, with eloquent illustrations
De Standaard on ‘Stella’