Contemporary Books, 3 years +, Candlewick Press


Words and Illustration by Carson Ellis

Published by Candlewick

An instant classic. This book explores the diversity of houses and the people that call them home. Illustrated with a gentle humour, the homes depicted span the globe as well as the make-believe. 

Home might be a house in the country, a flat in the city, or even a shoe. It is this exploration of the variety of homes that starts a natural dialogue within the reader to assess their own home and what home means. 

The illustrations are gentle, whimsical and detailed. There is minimal text and it has all been hand lettered. All artwork is gouache and ink on watercolour paper. Carson Ellis is an amazing talent. 

The illustrator herself even makes an appearance in the book and is depicted illustrating this book in her personal studio. A mourning dove has been drawn on to every spread of the book. A little hidden gem for kids and adults to find. Many other details can be found repeated in the homes of many different people - chimney smoke, pot plants, japanese fan fabric, weather vane, artwork, washing on the line, flag and teacup. A lovely reminder that we all cherish this notion of home and belonging. The reader will get lost in the detail and be able to revisit the pages time and again. 

In researching for this blog post, I came across The Picturebook Makers blog. Wow! What a great discovery. It is my new favourite website. They describe their blog as a place where some of the world’s finest picturebook authors and illustrators take you behind the scenes. Their goal is to provide an interesting and inspiring resource for children’s publishing professionals, illustration students and graduates, and anyone else with a passion for picturebooks and a curiosity about the different approaches taken to make them.

Click here to read Carson Ellis talking about the making of this book. The early sketches and private photographs shared by Ellis are particularly great. My favourite image is the series of thumbnail sketches that Ellis created before she began illustrating the book. What a lovely insight in to her design process! 

Reviewed by Georgia White