It’s always good to have a guide when trying something new, even if that means writing it yourself.
That’s precisely what the book’s red-haired, red-nosed (hat tip to the illustrator’s pseudonym?) hero teaches readers when he decides to run away from home. With his faithful rabbit in tow, he takes readers through each step of the process of hitting the road. After snacks and other necessities have been packed, a route planned and a suitably self-pitying note left, all that remains is the leaving. Soon, the previously confident hero decides his family probably deserves a last chance to do right by him. The instructional tone of the text by and large works, though the book suffers from a needlessly long passage near the beginning detailing what to pack. Ultimately, it’s the photographed models that are the true stars of the show. Extreme use of perspective, remarkable lighting techniques and additional line art shine. A silent, emotionally pungent spread depicts the little boy in the close embrace of his visibly relieved mom. There is a single artistic misstep: The farewell note pinned to the family baby in one scene has mysteriously disappeared in the next, a goof children will notice.
Kids may not pick up on much practical advice for their own escapes, but at least they’ll be able to enjoy this boy’s truncated journey. (Picture book. 4-8)