This enchanting story about a city boy who goes to visit Grandad on the farm teaches children about the concept of “home,” showing that while each person’s (or animal’s) home might be different, each is special and precious to its inhabitants. Harry loves the hustle and bustle of his native city—he loves the fast pace, the fire engines, the escalators and elevators, and even the noise that characterizes urban life. Grandad, on the other hand, loves his quiet farm nestled in the beautiful countryside, where his beloved animals, trees, and flowers surround him. On Harry’s birthday, Grandad gives Harry a very special present—a ticket to come visit him. This will be Harry’s first trip to the farm and his first time away from his mother. After an exciting journey on a bus, train, boat, another bus, and finally a taxi (the double-page spread charmingly depicts Harry and Grandad traversing a wide variety of terrains), they arrive at Grandad’s home. But in the night, Harry feels homesick and wants to go home. He misses the bright lights and can’t get used to the quiet that his grandfather loves. Luckily, Grandad knows just the trick—he gives Harry a baby lamb to take care of for the week. After his one bout of homesickness, Harry soon adores the farm and loves seeing the animals in their own homes—the pigsty, henhouse, dovecote, etc. Underlying Harry’s story, there is also a lesson of tolerance—neither Harry’s city home nor Grandad’s country home is better—everyone is entitled to his own preference, but must respect the feelings of others. While Harry’s homesickness is glossed over too quickly (had it been explored more deeply, this would have been an extremely useful book to accompany children on trips to their grandparents), Harry’s Home is a delightful book filled with lovely watercolor illustrations in vivid, yet soft colors with especially beautiful hues of blues and purples. Harry and Grandad are an irresistible duo. (Picture book. 3-7)

Pub Date: April 6, 2000

ISBN: 0-374-32870-6

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Farrar, Straus and Giroux

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 15, 2000

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A quiet story of sharing with no strings attached.


A little girl in a town of white snow and soot-blackened chimneys opens a small box and discovers a never-ending gift of colorful yarn.

Annabelle knits herself a sweater, and with the leftover yarn, she knits one for her dog, and with the yarn left over from that, she knits one for a neighbor and for her classmates and for her teacher and for her family and for the birdhouse and for the buildings in town. All and everything are warm, cozy and colorful until a clotheshorse of an archduke arrives. Annabelle refuses his monetary offers, whereupon the box is stolen. The greedy archduke gets his just deserts when he opens the box to find it empty. It wends its way back to Annabelle, who ends up happily sitting in a knit-covered tree. Klassen, who worked on the film Coraline, uses inks, gouache and colorized scans of a sweater to create a stylized, linear design of dark geometric shapes against a white background. The stitches of the sweaters add a subdued rainbow. Barnett entertained middle-grade readers with his Brixton Brothers detective series. Here, he maintains a folkloric narrative that results in a traditional story arc complete with repetition, drama and a satisfying conclusion.

A quiet story of sharing with no strings attached. (Picture book. 4-7)

Pub Date: Jan. 17, 2012

ISBN: 978-0-06-195338-5

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Balzer + Bray/HarperCollins

Review Posted Online: Oct. 5, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 1, 2011

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Vital messages of self-love for darker-skinned children.


On hot summer nights, Amani’s parents permit her to go outside and play in the apartment courtyard, where the breeze is cool and her friends are waiting.

The children jump rope to the sounds of music as it floats through a neighbor’s window, gaze at stars in the night sky, and play hide-and-seek in the moonlight. It is in the moonlight that Amani and her friends are themselves found by the moon, and it illumines the many shades of their skin, which vary from light tan to deep brown. In a world where darkness often evokes ideas of evil or fear, this book is a celebration of things that are dark and beautiful—like a child’s dark skin and the night in which she plays. The lines “Show everyone else how to embrace the night like you. Teach them how to be a night-owning girl like you” are as much an appeal for her to love and appreciate her dark skin as they are the exhortation for Amani to enjoy the night. There is a sense of security that flows throughout this book. The courtyard is safe and homelike. The moon, like an additional parent, seems to be watching the children from the sky. The charming full-bleed illustrations, done in washes of mostly deep blues and greens, make this a wonderful bedtime story.

Vital messages of self-love for darker-skinned children. (Picture book. 3-7)

Pub Date: July 2, 2019

ISBN: 978-0-525-55271-0

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Dial Books

Review Posted Online: March 17, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 1, 2019

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