Saturday, April 2, 2011

Book Review: TWO HOMES by Claire Masurel; illustrated by Kady MacDonald Denton


illustrated by Kady MacDonald Denton

Pub. Date: July 2003
Publisher: Candlewick Press
Format: Paperback , 40pp
Age Range: 3 to 6
ISBN-13: 9780763619848
ISBN: 0763619841

Description (from the publisher):
At Mommy’s house, Alex has a soft chair. At Daddy’s house, Alex has a rocking chair. In each home, Alex also has a special bedroom and lots of friends to play with. But whether Alex is with Mommy or with Daddy, one thing always stays the same - Alex is loved. The gently reassuring text focuses on what is gained rather than what is lost when parents divorce, while the sensitive illustrations, depicting two unique homes in all their small details, firmly establish Alex’s place in both of them. TWO HOMES will help children - and parents - embrace even the most difficult of changes with an open and optimistic heart.

My Rating:  4 out of 5 Stars

My Thoughts:  TWO HOMES by Claire Masurel, illustrated by Kady MacDonald Denton, is a sweet book that grapples with a difficult issue. Little Alex's parents each have their own home, so Alex has two homes. How this situation came to be is never discussed. Maybe Alex's parents are divorced (a word that never makes an appearance in the text). Maybe they never married. This book isn't about what happened -- it's about how Alex lives day-to-day. A mini tour of both homes is beautifully illustrated - two bedrooms, two favorite chairs, two kitchens. Alex is loved and happy in both homes.

Ahh, if only shared child custody could always be like this!  But I'm not going to criticize this book for what it doesn't do and doesn't address. I believe the author's intention is to reassure children in this situation, and TWO HOMES does that beautifully. The recommended age range is 3-6 years. It may best be suited for children whose parents "came to live separately" before the child had an awareness that there is any other way for families to live but is now old enough to make comparisons with the homes of other children.

What I liked best about TWO HOMES is that the author keeps things very simple, the focus is on the child and assuring that the child feels secure and loved. Also, Alex's name and appearance are androgenous, so both girls and boys will be able to relate the character. And, of course, the illustrations are just beautiful. I'll be checking out other titles by both this author and illustrator on the strength of the appeal of TWO HOMES.

About the author and illustrator (from the publisher):
Claire Masurel is the author of numerous books for children, including TOO BIG, illustrated by Hanako Wakiyama. TWO HOMES is her first book for Candlewick Press. She wrote the story after talking to a child who was sad about her parents’ recent divorce. She says, "To comfort her, I talked about her two homes, and all the many things she could do in them. It was a positive way of helping her accept the changes in her life, focusing not on what was missed, but on the abundance of good times — and love — that she would continue to share with her mom and dad."
 
Kady MacDonald Denton is the illustrator of A CHILD'S TREASURY OF NURSERY RHYMES and two books by Margaret Park Bridges - IF I WERE YOUR FATHER and IF I WERE YOUR MOTHER. TWO HOMES is her first book for Candlewick Press. She says, "Alex talks about simple things like toothbrushes, bedrooms, and friends — and they are all special because they are part of the love Alex feels in both homes. I tried to show that love in the illustrations."


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8 comments:

Laura Fabiani said...

I think this is a great book for newly divorced parents of small children. From the cover, one can tell it's reassuring.

Toriz said...

I love childrens' books like this. I know I'm an adult now and shouldn't, but I think they're so sweet!

TheBookGirl said...

I like that this book keeps things simple with respect to a difficult issue.

Julie P. said...

I think this book is a great idea for kids dealing with balancing between two homes. I can only imagine how difficult it would be and I appreciate that there are books out there that address this issue.

Zibilee said...

I love children's books that deal with difficult issues sensitively and am so glad that they are out there, bringing the types of messages that kids need to hear. This sounds like a great book, and now I know that if I am ever in need of a book like this, it's out there at my disposal. Great review on this one, and thanks for sharing it!

(Diane) Bibliophile By the Sea said...

This sounds like a good books for children of divorce.

Hope you've been doing well Gwen.

Sherrie said...

Hi!
Sounds like a great book for children of divorced parents. Helping them understand. Have a great day!

Sherrie
Just Books

Janice said...

This is a great book category for relationship. It will surely bring encouragement to families.