Home in the Woods
Home in the Woods

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Annotation: During the Great Depression six-year-old Marvel, her seven siblings, and their mother find a tarpaper shack in the woods and, over the course of a year, turn it into a home. Based on the author's grandmother's childhood; includes historical notes.
Catalog Number: #195244
Format: Perma-Bound Edition from Publisher's Hardcover
All Formats: Search
Publisher: Penguin
Copyright Date: 2019
Edition Date: 2019
Pages: 40
Availability: Available
ISBN: Publisher: 0-399-16290-9 Perma-Bound: 0-7804-6276-9
ISBN 13: Publisher: 978-0-399-16290-9 Perma-Bound: 978-0-7804-6276-2
Dewey: E
LCCN: 2019008905
Dimensions: 23 x 25 cm.
Language: English
Publishers Weekly
Somber artwork by Wheeler (When You Are Brave) sets the tone for the opening of her Depression-era tale of a family forced to start over. Based on the memories of Wheeler-s grandmother, the story follows six-year-old Marvel, her seven siblings, and their mother as they strike out into the forest, lugging bedding trussed up with rope and pushing a wheelbarrow full of pots and pans. -Dad lives with the angels now,- Marvel begins, -and we need to find a new home.- The tiny, ramshackle dwelling they spy in the woods looks forbidding, but there-s a pump in the cellar and good soil for planting, all captured in delicate illustrations. Brighter hues start to creep into the spreads as the family settles in, discovers berries growing nearby, and harvests the garden (-Some treasures take a little time-). When the -marvelous things- at the general store prove too expensive, the children set up a play shop of their own, making sweets of mud and money of leaves. The family-s ability to make do helps them survive the winter and greet the spring. With the lure of an old-fashioned shipwreck narrative, Wheeler-s story champions initiative, self-reliance, and familial closeness. Ages 5-8. Agent: Jennifer Rofé, Andrea Brown Literary Agency. (Oct.)
School Library Journal
K-Gr 3 Wheeler tells her grandmother's story. In 1932, Marvel was six when her father died and left the family to face the world on their own. Their intrepid mother moved her eight children and all of their belongings into a tar-paper shack in the Wisconsin woods. Together they worked to make the shack habitable, forage the woods for food and firewood, and plant a garden. Autumn brings canning chores and playing games made up together. They endure the harsh Wisconsin winter and emerge in summer to start the cycle again. Despite all of the hardships, this family built on love and determination not only survived but also flourished. This book will resonate with readers who enjoy reading about surviving despite adversity. The story is beautifully written and the art, done in ink and watercolors, reflects the Depression era in which it is set. Overall, it is a marvelous story for a class read-aloud. VERDICT This is an earnest, upbeat addition for any elementary or juvenile collection. Teachers can use this book to encourage children to tell their own family stories. Joan Kindig, James Madison University, Harrisonburg, VA
Starred Review ALA Booklist
*Starred Review* This book opens on an image of eight children of varying ages, formally positioned around their mother for a family photo in the woods. Labeled with everyone's name and age, the painting conveys everything about their situation: no father is present, household goods are piled around them, and the two oldest children lay protective hands on their mother's shoulders. From there, the story is told from six-year-old Marvel's perspective. Following her father's death, the family has become homeless, and having few options in 1932 Wisconsin, they set out to make a home of a deserted tar-paper shack in the woods. Together, the family survives as the seasons pass, until springtime brings new hope with Marvel able to view their shack through the same loving eyes with which she sees her family. Wheeler's evocative full-bleed illustrations, rendered with dip pens, india ink, and watercolor, draw readers completely into each page, creating a sense of personal involvement. The detailed imagery allows for the incredible efficiency of her poetic prose, which always finds the right note, striking a careful balance between melancholy and hope as the family rebuilds its life. Based on the childhood of Wheeler's grandmother, the story feels warm without being sappy or overly nostalgic, successfully making a bygone era meaningful today. Pair with Sarah Stewart's The Gardener (1997) for Depression-era interest.
Word Count: 649
Reading Level: 3.5
Interest Level: K-3
Accelerated Reader: reading level: 3.5 / points: 0.5 / quiz: 505132 / grade: Lower Grades
Lexile: 690L

This stunningly beautiful picture book from New York Times bestselling author-illustrator Eliza Wheeler is based on her grandmother's childhood and pays homage to a family's fortitude as they discover the meaning of home.

Eliza Wheeler's gorgeously illustrated book tells the story of what happens when six-year-old Marvel, her seven siblings, and their mom must start all over again after their father has died. Deep in the woods of Wisconsin they find a tar-paper shack. It doesn't seem like much of a home, but they soon start seeing what it could be. During their first year it's a struggle to maintain the shack and make sure they have enough to eat. But each season also brings its own delights and blessings--and the children always find a way to have fun. Most importantly, the family finds immense joy in being together, surrounded by nature. And slowly, their little shack starts feeling like a true home--warm, bright, and filled up with love.

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