We are delighted to join the Nonfiction Picture Book meme 2016 hosted by Alyson Beecher @ Kid Lit Frenzy. We would also be linking our nonfiction choices with our reading themes throughout the year.
To say that this book is perfect for our current reading theme would be a gross understatement. It seems to have been created with our theme in mind. I am also constantly on the lookout for alphabet books that are ingeniously crafted (see my review of alphabet books with pizzazz here and sinister alphabet books here). This is a wonderful addition to the alphabet books I have featured thus far.
Away From Home
Written and Illustrated by: Anita Lobel
Published by: Greenwillow Books, 1994 ISBN: 0688103545 (ISBN13: 9780688103545)
Personal copy of the book. Book photos taken by me.
Similar to the style seen in Edward Gorey’s deliciously-moribund Gashlycrumb Tinies that uses each letter of the alphabet as the first letter of a child’s name who dies frighteningly gruesome deaths, Lobel’s ingeniously-crafted Away From Home follows the same format with each child traveling to a city (good strategy of using cities instead of countries – more options that way) beginning with that particular letter of the alphabet, inviting alliteration and word play – see what happens to Adam and Bernard below:
I also took note of how delightfully multicultural it is – with the use of many children coming from different ethnicities and walks of life playing a starring role in each of the page depicted as a theatrical stage of sorts – the presence of stage hands peeking somewhere on the side of the makeshift stage was particularly alluring.
Recall that this book was published in the 90s – a time when including (what is now perceived mostly as token) characters from all walks of life was fairly uncommon.
What is even more awesome is the afterword that Anita Lobel wrote that indicated which countries these cities are found, and a brief description of the monuments or landmark buildings she used to depict the city.
Would you like to know which country Zachary went to? Then you have to find this book. I also loved how Anita Lobel used the jacketflap of the book to share what inspired her to create this book:
Anita Lobel says, “I have traveled in airplanes and on ships. I have been a refugee. I have been an immigrant. I have been a tourist. I have walked on quiet back streets and squares of foreign cities. I have posed for pictures in front of famous buildings. From theater seats I have floated in imaginary landscapes. I hope this theatrical picture-postcard journey is an invitation to learning more about places far away from home.”