Prather’s Pick: The special things about you
April 28, 2015
This week's picture book will tug at your heart — it's guaranteed. "The House That's Your Home" is intended for ages 3-7. It was written by Sally Lloyd-Jones and illustrated by Jane Dyer. The book is published by Schwartz Wade Books (2015), an imprint of Random House Children's Books.
The gorgeous illustrations were rendered in gouache and pencil. Even the text is special as it was set in Jane Dyer's hand lettering. The word "special" will come up often in this review. It comes up often in the text, too, because the book is about special things, and… the book can only be described that way; it's special!
The narrator speaks to a little red-haired girl in the book, but in doing so the narrator also speaks to children everywhere. As the book begins, the narrator reminds the little girl that she is a daughter, her brother is a son (a toddler), and she has a Mommy and a Daddy, and together they are a family. They also have pets, a dog and a cat. They all live together in a house that's "Your Home." To point out special things, some of the words in the book are in capital letters.
The family's two-story house has a bright orange roof and several windows and lots and lots of potted red flowers (possibly geraniums) that line the front porch steps. It's the homiest house ever. Outdoors there's a big yard with lots of grass and flowers and a garden. There's a swing, too, one of the girl's special things, and when she's flying up in the air she can see fields with sheep and cows in them. The illustrations are beautiful beyond words. "Your Home" is an enchanting place to grow up.
Inside the house, at the top of the stairs, is the little girl's room with her name on the door. Inside are all of her Special Things, such as Your Book, Your Ball, and a bear on wheels that she pulls around everywhere.
At mealtime, the family sits around the table together where the little girl has her chair, her plate, and a cup for juice. Little brother sits in his highchair and drops peas on the floor.
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The little girl has a friend, too, Your Friend, who stays by your side and chooses you first. And then there are Your Grandpa and Your Grandma, special people in the little girl's life.
The book continues in this way, in celebration of "Your Home" and the special things in it. An ending illustration is especially effective because it depicts the little girl's Home as part of the world. The city and ocean are part of the world. Wait until you see the illustration!
The house and child in this book were inspired by illustrator Jane Dyer's grandchildren and their home.
What a wonderful book to share with other children, who might draw their own homes and make lists of the special things in their lives!
The hardcover book costs $17.99. Ask for it at Downtown Books or other bookstores. It can also be found in the children's room at the Craig Moffat County Library.