The first opening also contains the copyright information and a dedication, those dark skinned faces from the front cover appear again, only just visible. We might not know what this story is about, but already we are apprehensive.
And so each spread opens onto more dark, dusky blue. Shadowy figures hunched across the pages, "We are quiet."...
It seems like an endless night, but it must represent many nights. The next page turn shows us one of the conductors, those in safe houses who helped the fleeing slaves.
The final opening is jubilant :..
If we close the book and linger on the back cover, we realise now who the happy family depicted there is. The newly born baby is the center of attention, a child born in freedom.
Evans himself admits that for most of us it is difficult to imagine what being a slave was like, being owned by someone else, someone who dictated what you did, how you did it and when you did it. It is possibly easier to 'relate to opening the door to assist someone.' Many risked their own lives by aiding and abetting runaway slaves. This picturebook cleverly mixes the flight of the slaves with the assistance they were given. Its shapes and colours share an emotion that touches all of us. Could we use this picturebook with students learning history through English? I'd like to think so.
On a website about to this picturebook, Shane W. Evans writes: