Review Blog

Apr 15 2011

Pictures of home by Colin Thompson

cover image

Random House, 2011. ISBN 9781742750903.
Picture book. When Thompson was still establishing himself as a children's book illustrator he had a contract with the Leeds Permanent Building Society. His brief for five years was to produce calendars and Christmas cards for the society with the only proviso that each picture should have a house in it. So we now have a well known children's book illustrator and writer, partly because of the security that regular income gave him in his early life as an artist.
This book is a compilation of those early calendars, the pictures of the houses he drew, tagged with comments by children from Upperby Junior School in Carlisle. And what a collection this is. Thompson's style is obvious to those who love his books with their detailed and minutely drawn illustrations of life. Each of these drawings of a house is different, giving the reader a chance to peruse the finely executed drawings with excitement. Classrooms will have fun finding all the things Thompson hides in his drawings, and will marvel at the nods to various artists shown. A book to enjoy and discuss, readers will want to tell the class about their own home and what it means to them, share with others how like one or other these drawings are to their own home, and draw an ideal home for themselves. The possibilities are endless and for many teachers it will be fascinating to see children's reactions to this book. I loved the way the houses evolved from a tree house at the start to an industrial estate at the end and the way the seasons revolved through the year of pages. Every time I look at it I see something new to think about and so it will be for students.
Fran Knight

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