Review: Animals Home Alone by Loes Riphagen
Animals Home Alone
By Loes Riphagen
Seven Footer Kids
When youâ€™re a kid, being left home alone is a big deal. It provides the first real taste of freedom. How to spend your time? Playing, reading, doing homework? Or maybe causing some mischief? Itâ€™s an intriguing scenario for kids, so it makes sense that they would enjoy seeing it played out in picture book form. First published in the Netherlands, the wordless Animals Home Alone brings readers into the storytelling fold. Itâ€™s a funny, unique, crazy mess of a book. And I mean that in a good way.
It all begins with a girl and her father leaving their house. This is when things start to get nuts. Animals of all shapes and sizes come out of the woodwork (sometimes literally) and start interacting with each other. There are numerous mini stories all laid on top of each other at once. Will the dog find his shoe? Why is the bear on the television? When will the pig stop eating? And, most importantly, what will the animals do when the humans come home?
The opening endpapers do a nice job of setting up the characters, while the closing one gives readers some questions to consider (â€œWhy was Charles angry?â€) that will send them back into the spreads.
The artwork has a simplified, flattened look (you can always see both of the characters eyes) that kids will identify with. There are plenty of details to keep interest high.
This is a book that kids will want to hold up close. While Iâ€™m not sure it will survive multiple readings, the first couple will certainly be memorable.
Thanks to Lynn and Cindy at Bookends for the review copy.
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About Travis Jonker
Travis Jonker is an elementary school librarian in Michigan. He writes reviews (and the occasional article or two) for School Library Journal and is a member of the 2014 Caldecott committee. You can email Travis at firstname.lastname@example.org, or follow him on Twitter: @100scopenotes.
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