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Something or nothing, that’s the question


Gerda Dendooven & Gaea Schoeters

‘Something and nothing have more in common than we realise. “Something” and “nothing” together make up “everything” there is.’ That’s the underlying idea of Gaea Schoeters’ first children’s book, which is reflected in the book’s structure. It consists of two parts: Something and Nothing. A dog asks a cat to tell it something, anything at all. But the cat can’t think of a single thing. Then the dog flips things around and challenges the cat to think of nothing. It blows a fuse in the cat’s head: there’s always something. Together they go in search of nothing and enter an empty landscape.

The leading lady of the Flemish picture book
De Morgen on ‘The Magic Garden’

They start talking about this nothing, which belongs to nobody. About nowhere, which could be worth waiting for, about waiting. About something, which is better than nothing. Or not quite. About something to hold on to, and that it’s all in your head. The dynamic illustrations are made up of angular figures, strong lines and colourful shapes. The emotions of the cat and dog are clearly visualised in the playful smudges around them. Like Dendooven’s other work, this too contains a layer of absurdity and the grotesque. ‘Nothing’ is a fun and philosophical picture book for children both big and small.

Schoeters overwhelms the reader with a rhetorical force borrowed from thrillers and from Tolkien. ****
De Standaard on 'Trophy'