REVIEW: TOD JANSSEN'S LUNA LIVING IN LEIDSCHE RIJN

The ever popular Tod Janssen’s most recent addition to the ‘Luna Living in Leidsche Rijn’ series sees Luna experience her first day at high school, and the excitement of her first solo ride on the supersonic vessel system. Here in the offices of Tales of Nodes and Places we have been asking ourselves whether we are seeing some signs of the Tod’s social conscience. The very choice of Leidsche Rijn is suggestive, as it has been the centre of many intense debates over the recent years of its radical transformation.

With its central location in the Randstad, Leidsche Rijn has been a leading place of transport development and, as such, an area of ever increasing population and densification since construction began on the SVS decades ago. Now a vibrant and technologically developed area in which the possibilities for creating extra dwellings seem endless, ‘Luna’s High School Adventure’ illustrates this exciting side of Leidsche Rijn, the home of over 200,000 people.

The book presents its young audience with a typical school day in the extremely mobile world we live in today. We can go anywhere on the grid with the blink of an eye. Technology has brought us these possibilities, and those who have been able to be a part of the technological surge have reaped huge rewards. Luna’s family are able to choose from a wide range of locations for their daily work and educational needs, and the travel experience is second to none.

These benefits, though, have not been evenly spread. We see in Luna’s day the privileged mobile experience only. While Luna is travelling directly from the clean air shuttle linked to her home building, many other children would be making their way through the smog of the old, dilapidated streets to their local alternative institutions. Many more have been priced out of Leidsche Rijn completely.

Is Janssen highlighting this in his narrow vision of the world through Luna’s eyes? We are not privy to the exterior view of Luna’s home, or what can be seen from the shuttle itself. Luna is blissfully unaware of her position. Or is our most popular children’s author also wearing blinders, and dangerously exposing a wide audience to a false reality?

A. L. Marrs