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Home at Last Hardcover – September 13, 2016
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From School Library Journal
Gr 1–3—Sitting on the steps of the children's center, Lester anxiously waits for his new parents and their dog, Wincka, to take him home. They've waited a year for this moment, as "it always takes a long time to adopt someone." Even though Lester loves his new home and Daddy Albert and Daddy Rich, everyone has a lot to learn about one another and their new roles. Lester still fears someone might come to hurt him and so cannot unpack his action figures, which he keeps ever ready in a little blue suitcase. Hurt also comes in angry words as the new Daddy Albert realizes. After enduring many nights of interrupted sleep, tripping over action figures, and bumping into the blue suitcase, Daddy Albert explodes at Lester. His anger recedes quickly, and he is as upset as Lester, who shares his fear and loneliness. Wincka, a wise dog (who resembles another Raschka canine), quietly comes up with the solution; she simply moves into Lester's bed, which she will continue to share with the boy and his action figures. The evocative story is quietly told in accessible, sensitive language. Equally moving watercolors use fluid line and gentle colors to amplify the poignant family story and portray each distinctive character. The text, written by Williams, is a deeply personal one and the last book she would write before her death. VERDICT This tender and uplifting tale, probably best shared one-on-one, should find a home in every children's collection.—Maria B. Salvadore, formerly at District of Columbia Public Library
“Full of tender everyday moments, Raschka’s sunny, loosely stroked painting lull readers into Lester’s new life. …Wiliams’s gift was capturing candid moments of pure love, and this, her final story before her death in 2015, offers a string of them.” (Publishers Weekly (starred review))
“Williams’ heartfelt text, published posthumously, supports Raschka’s expressive illustrations to tell the story of a child adopted by two dads. ... Raschka’s paintings add emotional depth to the setbacks, miscommunications, and moments of joy. …A book to welcome into all kinds of homes.” (Kirkus Reviews)
“A real portrait of the family emerges and doesn’t shy away from difficult aspects. ...In their watercolor pictures, Williams and Raschka engage this specificity and intimacy further, with cozy, limber shaping that recalls Margot Zemach and big, beautiful hands for the dads, ready to protect and comfort their son.” (The Horn Book)
“This story by the legendary author, completed shortly before she died, is her usual combination of homey and humane...Raschka’s sunny watercolor illustrations are bursting with undefined over busyness that sometimes makes details hard to discern, but the joy and warmth remain a constant even during Lester’s struggle.” (Bulletin of the Center for Children’s Books)
Top customer reviews
This was the book that Williams was working on when she died. Raschka had been involved from the beginning with the book and completed the vision that Williams had shared with him. Williams captures the deep-seated fear that adopted children can have, the understanding at one level of newfound family love but also the change that comes at night where fears become larger. Williams also shows two loving gay men, both delighted to be fathers and each different from the other. The two of them together parent Lester with kindness and concern and deep love.
Raschka finished the book, basing his art on sketches by Williams. His large colorful illustrations have a loose feel that ranges across the page, capturing both the mayhem of a family short on sleep but also the warmth of that family too. His watercolors convey deep emotions from the frustrations of sleepless nights to the power of coming together afterwards. All is beautifully shown on the page.
A tribute to adoptive families, LGBT couples who adopt and the importance of love and patience, this picture book is a grand finale to the many books by Williams. Appropriate for ages 4-7.
Lester has had a grief filled life and though he is happy to go to his new adoptive parents, Daddy Albert and Daddy Rich, his fears of being of them being taken away from him in some capacity like his parents and his grandmother keeps him awake at night and not wanting to stay in his own room where the fear takes hold.
Though both of his Daddy's cannot figure out to help Lester overcome his fear, their dog Wincka does with a brilliant plan than only a dog could come up with.
Beautifully written and illustrated by dear friends, the late Vera B. Williams and Chris Raschka.
Published by Greenwillow Books.
#PB #adoption #fears #loss #family #love #mustread