The February selection for our Child's First Book Club has been sparking conversation and imagination since we unveiled it on Tuesday. The book is Home by Carson Ellis. Ellis is best known as the illustrator for the Wildwood series and for the band The Decemberists, which is led by her husband Colin Meloy. But perhaps Home will establish her more prominently in the minds of children and their parents. After all, this book is anything but ordinary.
The premise is simple: these are the places where people (or creatures) live. It begins as an exploration of the usual comparisons. Country house, city house. Tall house, short house. Clean house, messy house. We've all read children's books that start exactly like this. But something about Ellis' illustrations suggests an atmosphere of whimsy and mystery below the surface. Her watercolors are heavy on browns, grays, and shades of reddish pink, and they remind you of the palettes of classic kid's books, or of wintry greeting cards from a century ago. And the longer you gaze at each page, you notice something just a little quirky in the corner. When you and your child reach the halfway point, Home explodes beyond the boundaries of our normal concepts of that word.
It turns on the provocative question "But whose home is this?" The illustration depicts a tiny mountain fortress, and no residents are visible. From then on the reader is asked to answer similar questions about the progressively more imaginative homes on display. The locales stretch from Slovakia to Kenya, from Atlantis to the Moon. But on the final pages, Ellis (dare we say?) brings it all back home.
We're confident our kids club members and their folks will return to this book again and again, and we're excited about the buzz around it. Members of the Child's First Book Club receive a brand new, signed children's book at the start of each month, and it costs nothing except the price of the book. Sign up today and we'll send you Home before we run out!