Review Blog

Feb 23 2010

Going home by Margaret Wild

cover image

Walker books, 2009. ISBN 9781921529047.
Picture book, ages 3-6. Walker Books is republishing a few of the best of classic Australian picture books. Several by Margaret Wild, and Peter Pavey have come across my desk, with several others worth a mention. Going Home is a lovely read for very early readers or for reading aloud. I can imagine a child who is worried about being away from home getting a great deal of satisfaction from this story of a boy in hospital, being comforted by the animals in the posters around him. As in Where the Wild Things are, the boy in this story is taken out of himself as he travels the lands with the animals at night. When he comes to leave the hospital and go home with his parents he tells the children left behind his secret. Full of life and colour, Going Home will be part of a teacher's bookshelf of books about animals as well as the themes of comfort and home, imagination and family. First published in 1993, it has a relevance which transcends time.
The illustrations by Wayne Harris carry the story further, by giving a gorgeous background to the places Hugo goes with the animals. At the end of the book are three pieces of writing, one by Albert Allun saying what a pleasure it is to see this book republished, another by Margaret Wild telling us the reasons behind writing the story and the third by Wayne Harris, giving his thoughts when first reading the story, and so underlining the reasons the illustration are so redolent of a child in hospital. All three extend the story further for the reader and give extra oomph to the lucky teacher or parent reading it aloud.
Fran Knight

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