The Bomb That Followed Me Home by Cevin Soling
The illustrations are fantastic, and even though several reviewers on Library Thing complain that the book uses too many big words, I think that's fine. I don't agree with declaring a book is inappropriate for young readers because they might not understand the "big words" in it (like, no joke, coniferous and deliberate). Are kids not allowed to have dictionaries? Or parents that can help them look up words that they don't know?
That said, I don't think the book is intended for the very young. Saying that it's morbid and inappropriate because the book ends with some grumpy neighbors meeting an untimely end is not surprising, but let's take a moment to think about all the so-called classic children's tales that involve violence and / or untimely death. Also, the nearly-constant presence of slapstick violence in cartoons and other kids' shows.
In tone, the book reminded me a lot of Neil Gaiman's recent children's book, The Dangerous Alphabet, which involves a little girl being kidnapped and chained up in a dark sewer by creepy and unsavory characters. To be honest, I thought Soling's book was a little less creepy than The Dangerous Alphabet. The Bomb That Followed Me Home would've amused me as a child, while it would've horrified my sensitive sister.
The letter that came with the book indicates that the story contains social and political commentary, and I suppose I could examine it and write a really in-depth piece on what it's telling us about tolerance or something. But I would prefer to just take the book at face value and declare that it was amusing enough, and that I liked it more than I expected I would. I would recommend the book as long as you have a sense of humor, don't take things too seriously, and take the time to read and judge the book for yourself before you pass it on to any kids you know.
Labels: Cevin Soling