FICTION

The House That's Your Home

illus. by Jane Dyer. 40p. Random/Schwartz & Wade. Feb. 2015. Tr $17.99. ISBN 9780375858840.
COPY ISBN
PreS-Gr 1—A house is just a building, but a home is made up of all the pieces on the inside. Lloyd-Jones tells the tale of a young girl and the parts that make up her home in rhythmic, hand-lettered text. The story builds on repetition and travels through a day with the main character, inside her home and further into her community. "And your Swing is to swing you./Right up to the sky/Up over the wall/Up, up till you see/Swallows and cornfields/And tractors and sheep/And the world that is waiting below." Dyer's gouache and pencil pictures include a balanced variation of spreads and closer images with greater white space behind them. The images reveal the finer details of a young child's life and draw together the broad story line. Although the words are charming and the pictures are captivating, the book does paint a very privileged, middle-class version of what constitutes a home. According to this title, it means having a full family, a large house, a yard with a swings- et, a bike, lots of toys, and much more. For communities that can relate to this standard of living, this selection will be well received as a read aloud.—Megan Egbert, Meridian Library District, ID
A home-away-home structure follows a little girl from the "house that's [her] home" to school and back, as she engages with her family, pets, and the world around her. Rhythmic text embraces childlike phrasing and captures the happiest parts of childhood's emotional landscape: "A friend is Your Friend / Who stays by your side." Soft gouache and pencil illustrations match the text's depiction of childhood idyll.
In a picture book that feels at once nostalgic and fresh, Lloyd-Jones and Dyer channel the best of contemporary mood pieces (see, for example, Scanlon and Frazee's All the World, rev. 9/09) and the everyday-life books of yesteryear (such as Krauss and Sendak's A Hole Is to Dig, rev. 10/52). A familiar home-away-home structure follows a little girl from the "house that's [her] home" to school and back again, as she engages with her family, pets, and the world all around her (in a refreshing twist, it concludes with the child awakening to a new day instead of drifting off to sleep). Throughout, a soothing, rhythmic text embraces childlike phrasing with lines such as "A bike is Your Bike / That rides you around" and hits just-right notes to capture the happiest parts of childhood's emotional landscape: "A friend is Your Friend / Who stays by your side / And chooses you first / And saves you a place." There are no tears or hardships in sight, and Dyer's soft gouache and pencil illustrations perfectly match the text's depiction of childhood idyll. The graceful hand lettering adds much to the book's pleasing design, and its clear readability will be a boon to adults who will doubtlessly engage in repeated readings with children in their own homes. megan dowd lambert

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