cover image Going Home

Going Home

Margaret Wild. Scholastic, $14.95 (32pp) ISBN 978-0-590-47958-5

A stay in the hospital has young Hugo longing for home, and when neither playing cards nor watching television holds any interest for him, he follows his imagination to worlds far beyond the hospital walls. From his bed overlooking the zoo, Hugo hears the roars of animals: ``Come, come home with me,'' each seems to say. At the ``invitation'' of an elephant, a howler monkey and a snow leopard, he cavorts with each, respectively, in the plains of Africa, the Amazon rain forest and the icy Himalayas. For souvenirs of the wilds, he makes inspired gifts for his younger sister (a paper elephant with ``flappy ears,'' a monkey puppet, a leopard mask). Dreamily subdued acrylic paintings hint at the monotony of a hospital stay yet are undercut with magical possibilities. Unusual angles and heightened color given to depictions of Hugo's trips emphasize the vitality of his newly discovered world. An unstated theme adds poignancy: the animals in the zoo, unlike the recovering Hugo, will not be going home. Ages 5-8. (Apr.)