From the Publisher:
‘A gentle, warmhearted story of one child’s journey through the foster care system in search of a “forever, forever” home.’
Elliot’s parents love him very much, but all is not well. When he cries, they do not understand why. When he yells, they do not know what to do. When he misbehaves, they do not know how to react. One day a social worker named Thomas comes to visit, and Elliot’s world turns upside-down.
Manon Gauthier’s soft collage illustrations feature approachable rabbit characters, while Julie Pearson‘s soothing, repetitive text guides Elliot gently through the foster child system. The new families that care for the little boy are kind, but everything is strange and new, and the sudden changes make him want to cry and yell AND misbehave. Then, when it becomes clear that Elliot’s parents will never be able to take him back, Thomas sets out to find Elliot one last home—a forever, forever home with a family that will love and care for him no matter what.
I feel that my children are still to young for this story, and they were never fostered, but I do look forward to reading this with them at an appropriate time to further explore the transition to their ‘forever family’ (us) as well as to dwhat it may be like for children who are in the foster care system. I appreciated the way that rabbits are used as anthropomorphic representations, perhaps softening this jarring subject matter. The gouache and pencil drawings are child-like and effectively portray the wide-range of emotions that Elliot feels throughout the course of the hectic back-and-forth of his journey from birth family to foster family and back and forth again until he is placed in his ‘forever home’. I think this is a powerful book about a difficult subject that is an important read-aloud to those kids who are going through similar circumstances as well as any child who knows someone who is being fostered.
- sensitive discussion/presentation at a kid-friendly level of a very difficult topic
- focus is on Elliot’s emotions and blame or judgement is not placed on birth parents
- illustrations are sensitive, gentle, yet effectively explore the range of emotions this journey evokes
- the gentle depiction of this story runs the risk of not portraying the true grief and ‘messiness’ of many of these situations. In the interest of not alarming children, it may perhaps depict the situation too peacefully. However, I am uncertain of how else this could be effectively done without causing further trauma. It is a very fine line and the author/illustrator have tread it carefully.
Why/How Use it with kids:
- a read-aloud (I wouldn’t give this to a child to read alone, especially a young one) for children in the foster care system
- excellent read-aloud with children who have friends or classmates who are being fostered to help them understand what may be going on with their peers and what “foster care” means
About the Author & Illustrator:
Julie Pearson conceived of Elliot, her first picture book, during her first months as an adoptive mother. She has worked as an educator in child and youth centers for over twelve years, and is passionate about children and their development. Julie lives near Sherbrooke, Quebec (from Pajama Press website).