What kid hasn't wanted to make their parents feel sorry for treating him badly? And how better to accomplish this than to run away? Here's a guide showing how, from what to pack (gum--then you won't have to brush your teeth) to how to survive (don't think about your cozy bed). Ultimately, though, readers will see that there really is no place like home. Like Judith Viorst's Alexander and the Terrible,Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day, here's a ...
What kid hasn't wanted to make their parents feel sorry for treating him badly?
And how better to accomplish this than to run away? Here's a guide showing how, from what to pack (gum--then you won't have to brush your teeth) to how to survive (don't think about your cozy bed). Ultimately, though, readers will see that there really is no place like home. Like Judith Viorst's Alexander and the Terrible,Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day, here's a spot-on portrait of a kid who's had it.
And like Maurice Sendak's Where the Wild Things Are, it's also a journey inside a creative kid's imagination: that special place where parents aren't allowed without permission.
As he did in Here Comes the Garbage Barge!, artist Chris Sickels (aka Red Nose Studio) models, then photographs gothic figurines in elaborately handcrafted sets, which draw most of the attention in this sardonic guide to leaving home. The boy narrator has a perpetually anxious look and a shock of red hair that leaps off his head like a flame, as he walks readers through the steps of running away. Huget’s (The Best Birthday Party Ever) knowing tone (“You’re too grown-up for a stuffed animal, but take your favorite one anyway. That will show your parents you mean business”) pairs smartly with Sickels’s anti-cute characters. The author nails the story’s pacing, dwelling luxuriously on the boy’s resentment, planning, and departure (“See if you can work in a little sob somewhere”), then depicting him at loose ends once he’s out in the world. His mother’s heartfelt welcome-back embrace is a moment of genuine emotion. Meanwhile, Sickels’s wildly inventive miniature sets and props are likely to make readers want to stay home so they can pore over the pages. Ages 4–8. Illustrator’s agent: Magnet Reps. (June)
It's always good to have a guide when trying something new, even if that means writing it yourself. That's precisely what the book's red-haired, red-nosed (hat tip to the illustrator's pseudonym?) hero teaches readers when he decides to run away from home. With his faithful rabbit in tow, he takes readers through each step of the process of hitting the road. After snacks and other necessities have been packed, a route planned and a suitably self-pitying note left, all that remains is the leaving. Soon, the previously confident hero decides his family probably deserves a last chance to do right by him. The instructional tone of the text by and large works, though the book suffers from a needlessly long passage near the beginning detailing what to pack. Ultimately, it's the photographed models that are the true stars of the show. Extreme use of perspective, remarkable lighting techniques and additional line art shine. A silent, emotionally pungent spread depicts the little boy in the close embrace of his visibly relieved mom. There is a single artistic misstep: The farewell note pinned to the family baby in one scene has mysteriously disappeared in the next, a goof children will notice. Kids may not pick up on much practical advice for their own escapes, but at least they'll be able to enjoy this boy's truncated journey. (Picture book. 4-8)
- Ken Marantz and Sylvia Marantz
When life at home becomes annoying, it's time to run away. Our sympathetic narrator presents a humorous guide to do it properly. First there is a list of what's needed, and it's a wagon-full. After a farewell to pets, a note of grievances must be written to be left behind, followed by loud noises at departure. Next comes the choice of where to go, while still recalling the good things being left behind. Suddenly, running away does not feel so smart. Perhaps you should give your folks "one last chance—even though they do not deserve it." If they do not treat you right, you can always run away again. Red Nose Studio artists enhance the realism by creating sculptures of the family members, even the howling baby, set in hand-built three-dimensional scenes with appropriate details. Occasional child-like black outline drawings supplement the photographed dramatic episodes, adding to the humor and appeal of the visual story. We leave our narrator planning his next escape. Reviewer: Ken Marantz and Sylvia Marantz
School Library Journal
PreS-Gr 3—In this quirky story, a boy feels unappreciated by his family. Everyone is "going gaga" over his baby sister. His big brother "gets to stay up a whole hour later," and his mother tosses out his entire collection of candy wrappers. In a wry narrative voice, the child offers advice on the delicate art of running away from home. He suggests bringing gum ("That way you don't need to pack a toothbrush") and a favorite stuffed animal ("That will show your parents you mean business"). After leaving a note (taped to his baby sister) and making a dramatic exit, the youngster doesn't go far before he has second thoughts and runs home to the waiting arms of his mother. The outstanding illustrations feature intricate hand-built, three-dimensional sets and charismatic characters fashioned out of polymer clay. Funny details abound in the detailed pages, such as the boy's red wagon piled sky high with comics, snacks, and a box of rocks. This imaginative and subversive flight of fantasy is not to be missed.—Linda Ludke, London Public Library, Ontario, Canada