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|Home in the woods|
Author: Wheeler, Eliza
During the Great Depression six-year-old Marvel, her seven siblings, and their mother find a tarpaper shack in the woods and, over the course of a year, turn it into a home. Based on the author's grandmother's childhood; includes historical notes.
|Accelerated Reader Information:|
Interest Level: LG
Reading Level: 3.50
Points: .5 Quiz: 505132
Kirkus Reviews (+) (08/15/19)
School Library Journal (00/10/19)
Booklist (+) (09/01/19)
The Bulletin of the Center for Children's Books (00/11/19)
Full Text Reviews:
Booklist - 09/01/2019 *Starred Review* This book opens on an image of eight children of varying ages, formally positioned around their mother for a family photo in the woods. Labeled with everyone’s name and age, the painting conveys everything about their situation: no father is present, household goods are piled around them, and the two oldest children lay protective hands on their mother’s shoulders. From there, the story is told from six-year-old Marvel’s perspective. Following her father’s death, the family has become homeless, and having few options in 1932 Wisconsin, they set out to make a home of a deserted tar-paper shack in the woods. Together, the family survives as the seasons pass, until springtime brings new hope with Marvel able to view their shack through the same loving eyes with which she sees her family. Wheeler’s evocative full-bleed illustrations, rendered with dip pens, india ink, and watercolor, draw readers completely into each page, creating a sense of personal involvement. The detailed imagery allows for the incredible efficiency of her poetic prose, which always finds the right note, striking a careful balance between melancholy and hope as the family rebuilds its life. Based on the childhood of Wheeler’s grandmother, the story feels warm without being sappy or overly nostalgic, successfully making a bygone era meaningful today. Pair with Sarah Stewart’s The Gardener (1997) for Depression-era interest. - Copyright 2019 Booklist.
School Library Journal - 10/01/2019 K-Gr 3—Wheeler tells her grandmother's story. In 1932, Marvel was six when her father died and left the family to face the world on their own. Their intrepid mother moved her eight children and all of their belongings into a tar-paper shack in the Wisconsin woods. Together they worked to make the shack habitable, forage the woods for food and firewood, and plant a garden. Autumn brings canning chores and playing games made up together. They endure the harsh Wisconsin winter and emerge in summer to start the cycle again. Despite all of the hardships, this family built on love and determination not only survived but also flourished. This book will resonate with readers who enjoy reading about surviving despite adversity. The story is beautifully written and the art, done in ink and watercolors, reflects the Depression era in which it is set. Overall, it is a marvelous story for a class read-aloud. VERDICT This is an earnest, upbeat addition for any elementary or juvenile collection. Teachers can use this book to encourage children to tell their own family stories.—Joan Kindig, James Madison University, Harrisonburg, VA - Copyright 2019 Publishers Weekly, Library Journal and/or School Library Journal used with permission.