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If You Lived Here You'd Be Home by Now

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A crisp fall day in the park. Furry animals... brisk winds... jumping in a big pile of leaves — OOF! Those aren't leaves; they're a giant leaf creature, visible only to children. But the city is pressing in on the beautiful park — what does the future hold? Even pre-readers will enjoy discovering nature's secrets in this timely fable without words.

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Overview

A crisp fall day in the park. Furry animals... brisk winds... jumping in a big pile of leaves — OOF! Those aren't leaves; they're a giant leaf creature, visible only to children. But the city is pressing in on the beautiful park — what does the future hold? Even pre-readers will enjoy discovering nature's secrets in this timely fable without words.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
“Readers should have no trouble interpreting Briant's cheerful cartoons, which move the action along briskly in panels of varying sizes.” Publishers Weekly

Crisp colors and bold outlines make the illustrations sing, and tell the story without any words.” —School Library Journal

“Affecting, and a nice choice for family sharing.”—Kirkus Reviews

“[A] gentle fable about staying in touch with nature.” —Booklist

Publishers Weekly
In Briant's (Seven Stories) incongruously titled wordless tale, a nature-loving boy visits a city park to look for animals. When he jumps into a pile of leaves, he discovers an enormous, friendly creature made entirely of leaves, who takes the wide-eyed child to see a menagerie of woodland animals, as well as a crew felling trees for a new construction project. The story then fast forwards a few decades to a future filled with flying cars. The now adult boy's son finds a leaf that his father had long ago pressed inside a book, inspiring a trip to the same park, which is now a commercial strip. Returning home, he tells his father what he saw (via images in speech balloons), triggering a distant memory of the leaf creature. Father and son travel to a patch of forest where they camp out overnight and encounter wildlife—including the elusive leaf creature. Readers should have no trouble interpreting Briant's cheerful cartoons, which move the action along briskly in panels of varying sizes, but the amorphous message about getting back to nature is less clear. Ages 3–6. (Sept.)
Children's Literature - Ken Marantz and Sylvia Marantz
Briant's wordless tale is a simple graphic narrative told in a series of vignettes and panels. A young boy brings an autumn leaf home. His father places it in the book about animals that he reads to him at bedtime. The next day the boy takes the book with him to the park, still thinking about the animals. There, while jumping into a pile of leaves, he encounters a sort of leaf man with whom he has some fun. They are interrupted by a crash and the scurrying of animals as they come upon a crew cutting down trees and building a road. The boy bids his new friend and the animals a sad goodbye. He grows up and has a son of his own in a future time. His child finds the original book and the leaf and then locates the statues from the original park near an area that is full of commerce. His father tells him of the leaf man. Together they go to the woods, camp, and emerge from their tent delighted to see animals and the leaf man still there. Black outlines define the non-naturalistic characters in simplified contexts. Picture sizes vary according to the actions, for example, a full page for the first discovery of the leaf character and multiple small vignettes for much of the subsequent action. There is a liveliness to the drawing that helps maintain the spirit of adventure. Interpretation of the story beyond the obvious concern for nature is more open, however. Reviewer: Ken Marantz and Sylvia Marantz
School Library Journal
PreS-Gr 2—After a young boy finds an autumn leaf, his father reads him a bedtime story. They tuck the leaf into the book and the boy has a wonderful dream of a forest filled with leaves and animals. Upon waking with book in hand, the child finds the park pictured in his story and starts searching for animals. It seems that all he can find are leaves. When he finds a pile of them, he does what any child would do—he takes a running leap to dive in. He lands with a thud, and appearing out of the leaves is a creature somewhat like an owl. This leafy creature and the boy play and read the boy's book together. With its help, he finds the animals pictured in the book, but they stumble upon a foreboding construction site. The boy returns home and tells his parents what he saw. They dismiss it as childish fantasy, but even as he grows up, the boy thinks about the friendly creature. The boy becomes a father, and when his own son finds the book with the leaf and the park, he sets out to find it. Crisp colors and bold outlines make the illustrations sing, and tell the story without any words. The linear time line is easy to follow even though the subject matter is a bit more abstract. This is a strong companion to Tao Nyeu's Wonder Bear (Dial, 2008), and to environmentally themed books like Bill Peet's The Wump World (Houghton, 1974).—Stacy Dillon, LREI, New York City
Kirkus Reviews
Briant's latest, a wordless fable about imperiled nature, spans two generations in colorful panels. A boy reads a book about woodland animals with his dad, then presses a fallen leaf within. He departs in a dream sequence, book in tow, in quest of those animals, meeting an enormous, owlish creature festooned in autumn leaves. The crash of falling trees interrupts their revelry in the teeming forest, as runaway construction encroaches. The illustrations cleverly depicts nature's waning grip on the boy: The older he gets, the fainter grows his memory of the leaf-creature. Cut to a future of flitting hovercraft in a completely built landscape. The boy's now a dad, who takes his son camping after the lad's incidental rediscovery of the animal book. While Dad can conjure the memory of the leaf creature, only his son spies it-though they share a rewarding glimpse of the remaining wildlife. While a few of the many panels don't smoothly telegraph the action and emotion, the overall effect is crisply resonant. Affecting, and a nice choice for family sharing. (Picture book. 3-6)
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781596434202
  • Publisher: Roaring Brook Press
  • Publication date: 9/15/2009
  • Pages: 32
  • Age range: 3 - 6 Years
  • Product dimensions: 8.60 (w) x 11.10 (h) x 0.50 (d)

Meet the Author

ED BRIANT is the illustrator of GIZMO, by Barry Varela, and the creator of SEVEN STORIES and DON'T LOOK NOW. His comic strip, Tales from the Slush Pile, appears every Thursday in PUBLISHERS WEEKLY's online Children's Bookshelf. Ed lives in Savannah, GA.

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