Forever or a Day

Forever or a Day
Sarah Jacoby
Chronicle Books

Sarah Jacoby explores the passage and power of time in a profoundly beautiful picture book meditation that takes the form of a conversational narrative.

The whole thing begins with a Times newspaper van moving through the streets as day begins to dawn watched perhaps by the child on the opposite page through whose eyes we then see a sequence of scenes of family life, some slow, others hurried …

or even frenetic seeming, but each one frozen in time in Jacoby’s watercolour spreads of commuters, a holiday train journey, a car ride to visit grandparents in the countryside.

All the while the accompanying text is gently nudging the reader to think deeply about the passage of time: ‘It can be precise, like pouring the first cup of tea’;

‘Sometimes it’s far, far away – like when you will be old, gazing out at the sea.’

Time can be illusive as here: ‘The more you try to hold it … the better it hides. Where does it go?’ accompanies this sand-castle building sequence .

By now day has given way to night: the family gathers for a sing-song around a campfire but after a fond farewell “You cannot hold it. … We’ve only got what we’ve got.” it’s a night train ride back to the city with its glowing lights

and a final benevolent ‘I love the time I have with you.’

The questions Jacoby poses are profound, though simply asked; and it’s her elegant watercolour spreads that do much of the talking, sometimes surprising and amusing as with the Tyrolean-looking hikers who appear in some of the scenes.

This is a book to share, to ponder over, to talk about, to speculate upon (it’s certainly one for a community of enquiry style discussion) and to savour, and unlike time, to hold on to.