Monday, August 14, 2023

Today's read... The Welcome Home by Amy June Bates

Today's read...well, when I got it, I didn't know what to expect. The cover portrays tons of animal goodness, but it's light and gentle, too. I'm curious to see where this read takes us and am just going to jump right in and find out.

And after reading this one, I'm putting it on my possible favorites of 2023 list because it is better than I even thought it might be.

by Amy June Bates
Paula Wiseman Books
40 pages
ages 4 to 8


From the creator of The Big Umbrella comes another poetic and lushly illustrated picture book about the joy of companionship and there always being room for one more in this tale about the search for the perfect pet.

Mr. and Mrs. Gargleson-Bittle are looking for a change. Their life has become too quiet, and little changes like eating waffles only help for a moment. They decide to get a pet—but what kind should they have? First they welcome a snail into their home, then an elephant named Louise, then an aardvark named Sam.

One by one they come, and while the house is definitely no longer quiet, Mr. and Mrs. Gargleson-Bittle still have room and love for more. Could this waggy, lick-your-face puppy be what makes their family complete?



This is one of those reads, which offers delightful fun and wraps it in a comforting atmosphere of goodness.

Mr. and Mrs. Gargleson-Bittle live in a nice house and have a nice life together, but something seems to be missing. After contemplation, they decide it should be something which to play with and and chase around and...they end up with a snail. They do like their snail, but something still seems to be missing. Something bigger. So, they adopt an elephant. And so the tale continues.

The awkward feeling of wanting-something-but-not-knowing-what-it-is comes across clearly and hits with familiarity. Although Mr. and Mrs. Gargleson-Bittle are adults, young readers will recognize the issue and sink right into their problem. Then, the giggles begin. Unexpected pet after unexpected pet slam in with extremes and make it clear that this couple is anything but normal. They have huge hearts, tons of patience, and enjoy every animal they get. The goodness mixes with the silliness to create a couple, which readers will wish they could live next to and visit as much as possible.

Then, there are the animals. These come across especially well in the illustrations. The  gentle lines and colors fits amazingly well to the chaos. It keeps emotions and warmth high, while the ridiculous parade of creatures comes in one  after the other. This creates a masterful balance between humor and heart to make it a read to be visited again and again. And again.

And here she is...

Amy June Bates has illustrated books including the Sam the Man series; Sweet Dreams and That’s What I’d Do, both by singer-songwriter Jewel; and Waiting for the Magic by Patricia MacLachlan. She is the author-illustrator of The Big Umbrella, about which Booklist raved, “A boundlessly inclusive spirit...This open-ended picture book creates a natural springboard for discussion.” She lives in Carlisle, Pennsylvania, with her husband and three children.

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