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COME HOME, ANGUS by Patrick Downes


by Patrick Downes ; illustrated by Boris Kulikov

Pub Date: July 26th, 2016
ISBN: 978-0-545-59768-5
Publisher: Orchard/Scholastic

Angry without knowing why, a boy stomps away from his house and neighborhood.

One day, Angus wakes up angry. Pink-skinned, blue-eyed, and way too big for his bed, Angus scowls with off-kilter eyebrows. The room tips diagonally, and the dresser’s upside-down as if planted on the ceiling. Angus’ anger is so big, it’s distorting his physical world. Enormous with anger, he bleeds off the page. He can’t bear his mother’s admonition against rudeness, so he leaves. One stride covers a whole block of his neighborhood. But as this giant nears the city’s center, he begins to shrink. Among the city’s skyscrapers, Angus is kid-sized and vulnerable, a visual bright spot in a murky-colored, jam-packed city that readers see from a tiny-child vantage point. Gray crosshatchings that covered Angus’ skin and clothing when he was angry at home have fallen off him, now covering adults who loom everywhere, ominous because they’re strangers. A woman supposedly “smiles,” but the illustration shows no smile; instead, food hangs from the fat woman’s mouth, and she appears grotesque and frightening. Towering buildings are patterned and slanted. Kulikov uses acrylic washes, pencil, pen, ink, oil pastel, and black-tea wash to full emotional effect. The city is “busier, noisier, wider, darker” than home—but Angus may be less alone than he thinks.

Excellent use of scale and texture capture a child’s out-of-control emotions

. (Picture book. 3-5)