________________ CM . . . . Volume XXII Number 25. . . .March 4, 2016


Home Alone: The Classic Illustrated Storybook.

Based on the story written by John Hughes & directed by Chris Columbus. Illustrated by Kim Smith.
Philadelphia, PA: Quirk Books (Distributed in Canada by Penguin Random House Canada), 2015.
44 pp., hardcover, $19.95.
ISBN 978-1-59474-858-5.

Grades 1-4 / Ages 6-9.

Review by Janice Foster.

**** /4



ďI made my family disappearĒ

For the first time ever, Kevin had the house all to himself. He raced down the halls. He jumped on all the beds. He ate a giant ice cream sundae for breakfast.


Is it possible to capture the story and excitement of a two-hour action filled comedy movie into a 40 page picture book? Home Alone: The Classic Illustrated Storybook does exactly that and more.

     Based on the movie Home Alone: The Classic Illustrated Storybook, written by John Hughes and directed by Chris Columbus, Canadian illustrator Kim Smith adapts the now iconic story as a Christmas fable. The simple concise text partnered with large, brightly coloured and expressive illustrations recounts Kevinís dilemma when he discovers that he is home, alone.

     While his family was busy packing for their Christmas vacation, Kevin was busy getting into trouble. Sent off to bed, he wishes that he would never see his family again, and the next morning they have disappeared. Readers will enjoy Kevinís hilarious antics as he experiences the thrill of being home alone: eating ice cream for breakfast, looking through his brotherís private things, tobogganing down the staircase and even trying out his dadís aftershave. But being home alone has its responsibilities. Kevin tackles the grocery shopping and laundry but is faced with his own fears. Though the book omits Kevin overcoming his fear of the furnace monster, it does show him developing a relationship with Mr. Marley, the neighbour who previously terrified him. The plot highlight, the two bungling burglars attempting to steal everything from the house, is cleverly described. Kim Smithís bold, animated illustrations add life and humour to Kevinís adventure. He devises an ingenious battle plan, shown as an illustration, filled with booby traps that will entertain readers of all ages.

     Readers familiar with the movie might question both the omission of the familyís activities while Kevin was home alone and an explanation as to why the neighbour was considered scary. But read solely from Kevinís eight year old point of view, it is understandable that he thought his wish for his family to disappear had come true, and children often are afraid of people they donít know or who seem unfriendly. The simplicity of the story allows for imagination and questions. This makes Home Alone: The Classic Illustrated Storybook a great family read aloud.

     As the plot unfolds, the reading audience becomes aware of Kevinís growing understanding of the responsibilities of being home alone. More significantly, as this is a Christmas fable, Kevin realizes the importance of family and Christmas. Home Alone: The Classic Illustrated Storybook is a delightful, fun filled addition to those special Christmas books young and old enjoy year after year.

Highly Recommended.

Janice Foster is a retired teacher and teacher-librarian in Winnipeg, MB.

To comment on this title or this review, send mail to cm@umanitoba.ca.

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