Kirkus Reviews QR Code
WHILE YOU ARE AWAY by Eileen Spinelli


by Eileen Spinelli & illustrated by Renée Graef

Pub Date: April 1st, 2004
ISBN: 0-7868-0972-8
Publisher: Hyperion

Children in three families miss a parent made absent by service in the military. An African-American boy misses his father who’s away on a ship. He pretends the wind will carry his words to his father. A Caucasian girl misses her mother flying through the skies. She blows kisses at night and pretends her mother can catch them. A Latino boy misses his father who’s away driving a jeep. The boy takes care of the garden and remembers his father’s directives. Spinelli, who reunites all three families in the last double-page spread, has done a fine job of couching comfort in short vignettes without ever approaching the saccharine or belaboring the message. Graef’s colored-pencil illustrations, looking very much like her Little House drawings, are a good match, though perceptive children will notice that the one boy’s “hamster” is actually a gerbil in the picture. Libraries near military bases might want to order multiples. (Picture book. 3-7)