Reading level: Ages 4-8
Paperback: 40 pages
Grade 1-3-- Pinkney's richly hued watercolors, strong with a sense of place and personality, will help draw young readers into this dreamlike reminiscence of a large, lively family whose existence echoes only faintly in the present. Deep within a lush southern woodland is the site of an old homestead, visited only by deer, squirrels, and raccoons. One spring day, a child discovers this "home place." Spurred by her curiosity about the past, she digs in the ruined foundation and discovers a marble, a horseshoe, and the arm of a china doll. These objects lead her to envision the family whose home once stood there. Children love a mystery and this is a picture book that will invite them to think about the life cycle and the riddles of the past. Primary graders may need the help of an adult in raising and exploring these questions. Dragonwagon's short, rhythmic lines, laid out like poetry, have a sometimes mystical, sometimes conversational quality. Each full-page illustration lies opposite a brief block of text printed on a soft bone-colored background. One error must be mentioned, with regret. The flowers identified as honeysuckle in the text appear as morning glories in the illustration. The book has a simple dignity that is in complete harmony with the tone set by the author and the illustrator. A wonderfully evocative work
Beautiful illustrations by Jerry Pinkney. A story about home and nature.