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HOME IS... by Hannah Barnaby


by Hannah Barnaby ; illustrated by Frann Preston-Gannon

Pub Date: Aug. 3rd, 2021
ISBN: 978-1-5344-2176-9
Publisher: Beach Lane/Simon & Schuster

In this gentle, expository piece, a rhyming text merges with vibrant illustrations to explore multiple interpretations of the meaning of home.

Home is particular for both humans and creatures of the natural world. Alternating and opposing views prove the point. “Home is land, home is sky. / Home is wet, home is dry.” A rural river scene reveals a bear emerging from its den to find breakfast in the fish-filled river, birds flying above through a clear, sunny sky, a beaver observing from its dam, and a small cottage sitting on the far bank. The contrasting views continue: “Home is dark, home is bright. / Home is day, home is night.” The dark undersea world is shown opposite a bright tropical reef to illustrate the first half of the couplet; a rooster below a beaming sun parallels the night flight of an owl through a city’s star-filled, moonlit sky for the second. The simplicity of the text is significantly enhanced by the soft-toned, complex, and engaging paintings that offer differentiating vistas as the concept of home encompasses the enumerated examples. Some will be obvious in their meaning—“roomy”/“snug,” “floating”/“still,” “far”/“near”—while others will be a bit obscure. All will encourage discussion and analysis. “Forever” versus “on loan” is limned with a turtle opposite a hermit crab. Finally, “Home is anywhere you love” returns to the river scene at night with a depiction of comfort, warmth, and peace as the animals sleep and a window-lit cottage twinkles in the distance. (This book was reviewed digitally.)

A subtle, varied, lyrically told exploration of the concept.

(Picture book. 3-5)