Bound To Stay Bound

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 Author: Howden, Sarah

 Publisher:  Owlkids (2022)

 Classification: Easy
 Physical Description: [32] p., col. ill., 27 cm

 BTSB No: 466836 ISBN: 9781771474276
 Ages: 4-8 Grades: K-3

 Sadness -- Fiction
 Imagination -- Fiction
 Tunnels -- Fiction
 Mother-son relationship -- Fiction

Price: $23.26

After something bad happens, a child has trouble connecting with those around him. His loved ones try to reach out and talk to him, but he only feels like running away. He decides to stay home after getting as far as his back yard.

 Illustrator: Medina, Erika Rodriguez

   School Library Journal (06/01/22)
   Booklist (03/01/22)
 The Bulletin of the Center for Children's Books (+) (00/02/22)

Full Text Reviews:

School Library Journal - 06/01/2022 K-Gr 3—"Something bad happened. I don't like to think about it," a pale-skinned, dark-haired child narrates. "Now it's just me and my mom in the quiet house." The child doesn't always feel like hugging, and doesn't want to talk, so they begin to dig with a plastic shovel, right through the floor of their room. They tunnel down into the ground, meeting worms, beetles, and moles, until they pop up in the backyard, and can look into the house from the outside. Having dug an escape route, the child crawls back through the tunnel; that evening, they accept their mother's hug and tell her, "I made a tunnel out of here. And then I came back." Monochromatic illustrations emphasize the characters' grief, while soft red notes of color draw the eye. That "what has happened" is not named only broadens the scope of this story. VERDICT Both metaphor and meditation, this touching, lovely story is a conversation-opener between children and caregivers dealing with loss; it recognizes the need to be alone, as well as the merits and comfort of finding one's way to loved ones.—Jenny Arch - Copyright 2022 Publishers Weekly, Library Journal and/or School Library Journal used with permission.

Booklist - 03/01/2022 A boy, sitting alone, says, “Something bad happened.” The specifics are not explained, but the house is empty except for him, his mother, and occasional adult visitors. Possibly his father has left or died. From this realistic premise, the story takes a fantastical direction as the boy copes by digging a hole through his bedroom floor, traveling down through a tunnel, experiencing the novelty of being underground, and emerging in his backyard. He briefly considers disappearing but sees his mother through the window and decides to return home. The tunnel is a manifestation of his mental state and desire to leave the sadness behind. Outside, he appreciates the light the moon provides, then draws a connection between the moon and his mom. Back inside, he acknowledges “the secret places” he and his mother both have, the pain they keep to themselves, though he is glad they are together. The illustrations are nonthreatening, but the text explores complex emotional responses. An effective tool to open discussion about grief with individuals or small groups of children. - Copyright 2022 Booklist.

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