Written by Libby Hathorn
Illustrated by Gregory Rogers
(Anderson Press, 1994)
Picture books cover more than ABCs and red fish versus blue fish. They are as varied as novels. Many titles are intended for older readers. Way Home is one such book. The story takes place during one night in the inner city and the illustrations vividly convey a sense of grit and darkness. The streets and alleys represent danger for a boy named Shane and a wary stray cat he encounters.
"Heeey, I like you, Spitfire, Kitten Number One!" Shane says. He tucks the cat into his jacket. "You're coming home with me to my place."
On the journey home, the duo walks past a pampered feline in a window. As Shane gazes in, he says, "[T]hat cat's a loser. Eats fancy mince, no kidding. Heaps of it....Disgusting. And get that collar. What a joke!" They see an auto showroom, lights shining brightly on red Jags. Wrong color, Shane claims as he fights off a sense of awe.
After staring at the unoccupied office towers, Shane and the cat finally reach home, a makeshift shack for just the two of them. End of story.
It's thought provoking tale about homelessness, preconceptions and society's priorities. I recommend this book for readers nine and older. A reader's world should involve more than sports stats, wizard schools and wimpy kids.