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THE ROAD HOME by Katie Cotton Kirkus Star


by Katie Cotton ; illustrated by Sarah Jacoby

Pub Date: March 7th, 2017
ISBN: 978-1-4197-2374-2
Publisher: Abrams

The struggle to survive and find a home in nature is told in verse.

For those who don't appreciate children’s books that sugarcoat the harsh truths of survival in the wild, there's this spare and beautiful book in which a bird, a rabbit, a mouse, and a wolf travel with their respective offspring, trying to find a home, sometimes while outrunning death. With the refrain, "This road is hard, this road is long, / this road that leads us home," it's critter tales as if told by Cormac McCarthy. But rather than seeming scary or unsettling, the effect feels truthful and significant. Any child will understand that the stakes are high for the rabbits on the run ("For Wolf is near. His name is Fear. / He wants us for his own"), but the resolution is lovely and comforting. "This road is hard, this road is long, / but we are not alone. / For you are here, and I'm with you… // and so this road is home." The highly textured illustrations keep a respectful distance, allowing a glimpse of these creatures without losing the scale of the world they're up against; the backgrounds are moody and at times foreboding, but the last two spreads, in which the journeys of all the sets of animals come together, are breathtaking.

These nameless animals make the journey count. With gorgeous artwork and a striking, poetic approach, the bond of parent and child is successfully conveyed.

(Picture book. 4-8)