Monday, February 8, 2010
Review #59: If You Lived Here You'd Be Home By Now
Gracie (age 9): Why in the world is this book called "If You Lived Here You'd Be Home By Now"?
Dad: I was just going to ask you guys that. What do you think?
Gracie: I don't know.
Dad: Usually when you see that phrase on signs or bumper stickers it means: "This is a good place to live -- don't you wish you lived here? Ha ha, I live here, you don't." That kind of thing.
Gracie: What does that have to do with a giant monster?
Dad: How about this... we'll talk about the story first, and then maybe you'll be able to answer that question.
Dad: This book is by Ed Briant. What did you guys think of the words in this story?
Lily (age 6): They were blank.
Gracie: There were no words!
Dad: Yep, so it's a wordless book.
Gracie: The characters do talk, but there are pictures inside the word bubbles instead of writing.
Isaac (age 11): This was a graphic novel.
Dad: I don't know about that... It was kind of short for a graphic novel. "Novel" usually signifies something longer...
Gracie: It's a "Graphic Short-el"
Isaac: The story is about this boy who reads a book about a forest. He knows where that forest is, so he runs over there, but he can't find any animals. Then he sees a giant leaf pile, so he jumps in it. But it actually wasn't a leaf pile. It was a Leafy Beast.
Lily: A monster man! A monster dude!
Gracie: They jump in leaf piles together. They read a book together.
Isaac: Then he asked if the monster could show him where all the animals were. They find the animals, but there was a boom and a crash and all the animals ran away.
Lily: People were cutting down all the trees and turning it into buildings. They were turning the forest into a town.
Gracie: The boy tells his mom and dad "I found a Leafy Beast!"
Isaac: The parents think their son is a weirdie.
Lily: Then the boy grows up. He doesn't remember about the leafy monster any more.
Isaac: Now he has a kid. He takes his kid to different forest, but they still can't find animals. Then the kid hears something -- it was all the animals. Then the kid turns around, and there was Leafy Beast.
Dad: Why do you think only kids can see him?
Gracie: He hides when adults come.
Gracie: They might scream and shoot their rifles at him.
Dad: What did you like best about the book, Lily?
Lily: My favorite part of the book was the leaf monster.
Lily: Because he's a monster.
Dad: It's fun to create monsters. You can design them any way you want.
Lily: Yeah, because they are not real. But they might be real. No one knows...
Dad: How about you, Gracie?
Gracie: I like the way the illustrator paints. He doesn't do it very careful. Sometimes he gets a little bit out of the lines. And sometimes he doesn't go all the way to the lines.
Dad: Does that make you feel good knowing that grownups paint like that?
Dad: On purpose even!
Gracie: There's something I didn't like. I didn't like the fact that they had to turn the forest into a city.
Dad: That happens sometimes, doesn't it. I'm sure before our house was built here, this would have been a woodsy area.
Isaac: Well, we have a little area in our backyard that is saved for nature. Remember all those trees? It's like a little tiny forest in our backyard.
Dad: Yeah, it's good that the people who built this house didn't tear all the trees up. Do you think there are any leaf monsters back there?
Isaac: No. I've been back there too often. I would know.
Gracie: I've searched every part of that forest, and there's not. I wish there was though.
Dad: So back to your original question... Why do you think this book is called "If You Lived Here You'd Be Home By Now"? Any ideas?
Lily: Because I wish I lived with a leafy monster.
Isaac: It has to do with the forest. If you lived in the forest, you'd be there already.
Dad: What about you guys? Would you rather live in a big city, or out in nature?
Gracie: I'd like to live out with animals. But every year I would have to order twenty thousand shipments of bug spray.
Isaac: These are mostly guesses about the title.
Gracie: Maybe the author can tell us what it means.
Isaac: Exactly what it means.
Gracie: I have words for Mr. Ed Briant. Can you, like, email us or something and tell us what in the world the title has to do with this book? Or something?
Isaac: We're still trying to figure it out.
Author/Illustrator: Ed Briant
Published, 2009: Roaring Brook Press
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