BooksforTopics Reading for Pleasure Recommendations
Book Title: Hom (available here)
Author: Jeanne Willis
Illustrator: Paddy Donnelly
Publisher: Andersen Press
Publication Date: March 2021
Most Suitable for: Ages 3-8
Review by: Alison Leach
Imagine Stig of the Dump meets Robinson Crusoe… and then craft it into picture book form and add all the usual wit, warmth and intrigue of Jeanne Willis’ stories – and you’ll be close to what we have in Hom.
Hom is the story of a young boy who ends up shipwrecked on an island. There he discovers Hom, an unusual but peace-loving little creature who is the last of his kind. Perhaps he is an early human who has survived from ancient times (is Hom short for Hominid?), or maybe simply a yet-undiscovered creature of nature.
The pair become friends, playing and running together, building go-karts and teaching each other what they know about survival. The boy discovers that they are more alike than different, and when a rescue ship arrives, he makes the bold decision to stay put and protect Hom. The boy knows that it would be dangerous for Hom to be discovered by other humans – although the reader is addressed as a trustworthy confidant and invited to be in on the secret from the start.
This is a touching story of friendship, protecting others and respecting the age-old affinity between humans and the natural world. There’s a gentle message about protecting the vulnerable things of our planet, and another about overcoming apparent differences. Nevertheless, the playful tone of the story and Paddy Donnelly’s vibrant, luscious island scenes in which the friends are seen playing, sheltering and adventuring, make this an accessible all-age story with many layers to unwrap.
Many thanks to the publishers for sending us a review copy. Follow along with the other stops on the blog tour for more about the book.
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