Way Home (A Red Fox Picture Book)

 
9780099486817: Way Home (A Red Fox Picture Book)

Shane finds a no-name stray cat and takes it through the dangers of the city to his home, a corner of an alley.

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From School Library Journal:

Grade 3-8-In this distressing look at life on the streets of a big city, Shane, a preteen boy, heads home past broken windows, graffiti-scribbled walls, dilapidated fences, and alleys strewn with trash. On the way, he avoids a group of tough boys and encounters a fierce dog, talking all the while to the stray kitten snuggled safely inside his jacket. Finally he crawls through a jagged hole in a chainlink fence and into the cozy, sheltered corner of an alley that he calls home. A toy robot is the only sign of childhood amid a bed of newspapers, blanket, pictures torn from magazines, and empty milk cartons. Soft, double-page, charcoal-pencil drawings in muted shades of blue, brown, gray, and terra cotta on black backgrounds sharply contrast the brightness of signs, buildings, and rush-hour traffic with the secluded loneliness of dark alleys. Rogers has created a feeling of drama and harshness by placing white text on black backgrounds that appear to have a large piece of each page torn away to reveal a glimpse of the city underneath. Gentle closeups of Shane show a handsome boy with slicked-back hair; tidy baseball jacket; and t-shirt and jeans sans worn spots or patches. He's a healthy, cool-looking kid, seemingly well fed and neat, so his situation seems somewhat at odds with his appearance. Only one split-heeled sneaker and his grimy hands hint at what his home will look like. There is no explanation of his plight in either text or illustrations. Although this story is disturbing, it lacks credibility and thus the pathos that might be evoked by such powerful artwork. Keith Greenberg's Erik Is Homeless (Lerner, 1992) presents a realistic picture of the life of a homeless boy and his mom in a factual format that children can understand.
Susan Scheps, Shaker Heights Public Library, OH
Copyright 1994 Reed Business Information, Inc.

From Kirkus Reviews:

From Australia, a stunningly illustrated depiction of a homeless boy and his kitten. Shane frequents a large city's gloomy alleys, where crooked gates and makeshift sheds of old brick are the dark backside of the well-lit, prosperous buildings looming above. There Shane finds a ``clever baby thing...a tight little ball of fierce cat,'' talks gently until its growls subside, and tucks it inside his jacket. Setting off for ``home,'' they pass a window where a pampered cat preens and glares, outrun a gang by darting perilously through traffic, gaze into glittering shops, and inhale restaurants' tantalizing aromas. After the kitten bolts from a dog, Shane retrieves it from high in a tree and finally gets it safely back to his improvised nest. Setting the story at night, with white type on bold black, Rogers brings out its poignancy in tenderly rendered illustrations whose essential realism is enriched with dramatic composition and visual asides--e.g., the hands of God and Adam from Michelangelo's Sistine Chapel ceiling and the face of one of the damned in his Last Judgment are paired as battered posters. Touching, beautifully wrought, and deeply felt. (Picture book. 5- 10) -- Copyright 1994, Kirkus Associates, LP. All rights reserved.

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Published by Red Fox (1996)
ISBN 10: 0099486814 ISBN 13: 9780099486817
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