I Know Here
by Croza, Laurel; James, Matt (ILT)

When she finds out that her family will be moving from northeastern Saskatchewan to Toronto, a young girl tries to find a way to hang on to the things that she has seen in her old home when she moves to this new city.

Based on the author's childhood memories of leaving northeastern Saskatchewan for Toronto, this debut picture book captures a child's fear of moving with a touch of magic realism. Both words and pictures show a little girl's frustration and uncertainty when she learns that she will be uprooted ("I don't know Toronto") and her sadness at leaving behind what she knows and loves. Before she moves, she lives in a trailer park where her dad is building a dam, and energetic, colorful pictures in acrylic and india ink show her playing hide-and-seek in the forest, listening to wolves howl at night, and going to school with nine other kids: "only me in grade three." She is terrified of the city, and the pictures show her imagined images of big looming buildings that look like monsters. Kids facing their own wrenching upheavals will take heart in the girl's celebration of her roots and what she knows about herself and the world, all of which give her strength to move on. Copyright 2009 Booklist Reviews.

Going walkabout down the small stretch of country road that she and her family are about to leave, a child offers a mildly comforting strategy to others who are about to pull up stakes. Her little brother is excited about moving to Toronto, but to the narrator, "This is where I live. I don't know Toronto. I know here." "Here" is rural Saskatchewan, where her family has been living while her father worked on a hydroelectric dam, now complete. Walking from home to school ("only me in grade three") and back, she counts her community's house trailers along the roadside, waves to a familiar passerby and recalls sighting a moose and hearing wolves in the surrounding woods. Her mood lightens at last when she realizes that she can capture and retain at least some of her small world by drawing pictures of it. James's vividly colored, na´ve-style scenes capture the bright intensity of the child's inner and outer landscapes and also the unaffected way in which she observes them. Good for sharing. (Picture book. 7-9) Copyright Kirkus 2010 Kirkus/BPI Communications. All rights reserved.

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