The Beginner’s Guide to Running Away From Home

Jennifer Larue Huget, illus. by Red Nose Studio. Random/Schwartz & Wade, $17.99 (40p) ISBN 978-0-375-86739-2
As he did in Here Comes the Garbage Barge!, artist Chris Sickels (aka Red Nose Studio) models, then photographs gothic figurines in elaborately handcrafted sets, which draw most of the attention in this sardonic guide to leaving home. The boy narrator has a perpetually anxious look and a shock of red hair that leaps off his head like a flame, as he walks readers through the steps of running away. Huget’s (The Best Birthday Party Ever) knowing tone (“You’re too grown-up for a stuffed animal, but take your favorite one anyway. That will show your parents you mean business”) pairs smartly with Sickels’s anti-cute characters. The author nails the story’s pacing, dwelling luxuriously on the boy’s resentment, planning, and departure (“See if you can work in a little sob somewhere”), then depicting him at loose ends once he’s out in the world. His mother’s heartfelt welcome-back embrace is a moment of genuine emotion. Meanwhile, Sickels’s wildly inventive miniature sets and props are likely to make readers want to stay home so they can pore over the pages. Ages 4–8. Illustrator’s agent: Magnet Reps. (June)
Reviewed on: 04/22/2013
Release date: 06/25/2013
Library Binding - 40 pages - 978-0-375-96739-9
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