Home by Carson Ellis

cover image

Walker, 2015. ISBN 9781406359428
(Age: 4-8) Highly recommended. Housing. Homes. Imagination. Buildings. Carson Ellis is an artist and illustrator whose unique naive style is showcased in her debut picture book Home. She is known for her artistic covers on band albums and backdrops and for her illustrations in the Wildwood series written by her husband, Conor Meloy. Here her pen and ink illustrations use dark tonal colors, with solid lines and small, quirky touches to create mood and interest. There is a fairytale quality to her work, the characters stylishly dressed with princesses and pirates. Each setting and each home waits to be explored, studied and discussed.
She takes us on a journey around the world and even into space; the Moonian's home is in shades of grey, with the colourful Earth, a small ball in the distance viewed through a large circular window. From a home in the country, we are taken on a journey past flats in the city, to Indian palaces with underground lairs. Animals' homes are included as well as spiders' webs and birds' nests. The old woman who lives in the shoe is surrounded by her multicultural family drumming, swinging, climbing, sliding and balancing on a tightrope, having fun. Mythical places - underwater Atlantis, a Norse god home are shown in detail. With contrasting scenes placed side by side we see the a Slovakian duchess and her stately home next to a Kenyan blacksmith's small abode. As the pages are turned, each new painting is a celebration of the imagination. The text is simple, engaging and questioning. Where is your home? Where are you? In the final pages, Carson is peering out the window of her two-story home asking the reader to think about their own place.
Highly recommended for 4-8 years and for Early Years Geography and History lessons.
Rhyllis Bignell