Window by Jeannie Baker is a wordless picture book suitable for an audience of all ages. The illustrations are very detailed, hand drawn to perfection with pencils. Text is completely absent from the book, which therefor allows the reader to explore their thoughts and find their own conclusion. Window touches base on theme of the effects of human development through a chronological order of elaborate drawings. As the title of the book suggests, the story is set through the eyes of looking through a bedroom window formatted across two pages, the window is kept as a continuum all throughout the story.
The beginning of the book is set in an unspoiled, rural area with a mother gazing out the window with a baby in her arms. The background consists of an array of native Australian plants and a dunny surrounded by long grass. Nearing to the end of the book, looking through the same bedroom window, the so-called unspoiled rural area has changed unrecognisably. The wildlife and crazy long grass has disappeared from the front of the house and replaced with tamed grass, concrete and busy motorists. Fences, busy shops and numerous houses have been built since.
Looking to the distance, there are tall skyscrapers implying that the heart of the city is close by. What is observed on the window seal is birthday card with ‘20’ on the front of it, suggesting that the baby on the first page is now 20 years old. Alongside that, a young man is seen standing at the front of the house closely with a young lady prompting that she is his partner. The difference between the beginning of the book to the end shows much of the extreme changes over the course of 20 years and how humans have developed establishments progressively.
As there are no words to slow the reader down from quickly turning the page, the eye-catching illustrations work as an alternative with its extensive details instead. The story is easy to read as it flows through every page with the continuum of the window, the overall underlying message is easily understood as dramatic progressive changes are presented in the background. The format of the window is spread amongst two pages, and it remains to be the same bedroom window all throughout the story.
That same window only changes to a different type of window on the last page accordingly to the story. Towards the end of the story on page 13, some of the most prominent features on the page is the increase of cars, buildings, skyscrapers, an industrial factory producing emissions and a plane. In comparison from what it was earlier of the simplicity of nature, the whole view is bombarded with human changes. On this page, the colour orange completely dominates the illustration, primarily because it is the colour of the roofs and the number of houses have increased dramatically.
It is also evident that the colour green has minimized because there is barely any grass or real trees left. An element which completely captures the attention of the reader, is a large and brightly coloured removalist truck in the middle of the illustration. Implying that the occupants of the house will be moving. This signals to the reader that it is very close to the end of the story which they’ve been following since the beginning of the book and the beginning of the protagonist’s life.
Although what should be noted is that this is only the end of the chapter for the now-grown up baby boy, he continues another chapter of his life on the next page. The life-like sketches drawn by pencil furthermore persuades the fact that this story is reality. With use of the same reoccurring window seal, the artist conveys the truth of development and change over time. The audience has the feeling of witnessing remarkable changes over the course of a couple of pages.
Overall through my perspective, this story relates to the world indefinitely. Modern development has changed many aspects of living through simple terms and that is exactly what has been portrayed in this book. Although what has been perceived in this story is that the modern world isn’t so great, hence why the protagonist decides to move to a rural area when he has grown up. This suggests that he doesn’t feel like busy suburban areas would be as good as rural areas for raising children.