The Beginners Guide to Running Away From Home: Book review

Never run away from home before, this narrator will tell you how. But in the end, leaving might not be better than staying at home. Photo: Red Nose Studio

SILVER SPRING, Md, June 20, 2013 – Told by a first-person narrator who is going to instruct you, the reader, how to run away from home. The instructions are quite simple and are things that kids really do not need help coming up with on their own. First, find a reason to run away, then practice yelling why you are leaving out loud. Next, pack – he recommends using a wagon to make sure you can take everything on his list. After packing, it is time to say goodbye to the pets and to write a note explain to your parent s why you are leaving. Finally, it is time to leave, but you must do so while yelling your reason for leaving and stomping your feet.

After you have made it out of the house, it is time to decide where to go. It is very important not to think about all the good things that you are leaving behind at the house, just keep walking. When the house is out of sight, stop for a snack and decide if you really want to leave.

Photo by Robynlou Kavanagh.

 

At this point, the narrator comes up with a negative result to every possible place and solution he had before devised. He rushes back home to give his parents “one last chance.”

This book is good for older children, who might be struggling with their parents. The publisher’s recommendation is ages 4 to 8. While the narrator does gives instructions to run away, a fact which may concern some parents, really these are steps that every child who has ever made it out the front door with a backpack and a threat to” never come back,” has come to one their own.  The value in this story is that the narrator is a relatable figure to children who have considered leaving home, and that this sympathetic narrator comes to the conclusion himself that running away really is not better than the problems he has. He even says at the end, “Once you’re home, things might not seem as bad as you remembered.” 


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While this book does provide an instruction manual for leaving, it may just help an overly agitated child to reconsider leaving in the first place.

The artwork is different from what you normally see in children’s books. Rather than illustrations created with sketches and paint, these illustrations are photos of sculpted characters in physically created settings made out of found objects, like candy wrappers, erasers and spoon handles.  Creating the dioramas that were then photographed to illustrate the book took 15 months to complete. The style of the artwork really gives this book a unique look, and the focus of many of the photos add humor to the story. For example, when the narrator instructs the reader to place his runaway note “in a place where your parents can’t miss it,” the illustrator has depicted the note dangling off a crying baby in a Johnny-jump-up. 

Photo by J. Aaron Farr. Click to enlarge.

 

The Beginner’s Guide to Running Away from Home by Jennifer Larue Huget  and illustrated by Red Nose Studio (ISBN:9780375867392) was published on June 25, 2013 by Random House Children’s Book. This is Jennifer Larue Huget’s fourth children’s book, and the second children’s book Red Nose Studio has illustrated.It is available as a hardcover or ebook.

 

Brighid Moret also writes children’s picture book reviews at Big Reads For Little Hands. Read more about parenting issues in Parenting the First Time Through at The Communities at The Washington Times. To receive updates when new columns post on, follow Brighid on Facebook, Twitter or Google+.

 

 


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Brighid Moret

Brighid is a freelance writer and first time mother.  She holds an MA in Writing from Johns Hopkins University.  Find her on Facebook @Brighid Moret

 

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