Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Homing Penguin: Where Is Home, Little Pip? by Karma Wilson and Jane Chapman

"Our home is where the land is free...
In our pebbly nest by the stormy sea
Where Mama and Papa and Pip--make three."

Little Pip's parents teach her the song of their family home, warm and loving, on the rocky shores of Antarctica. "Don't wander far, Little Pip,," they warn, and Pip doesn't--until one day a shiny black feather blows by and she just must follow and try to catch it. Soon Pip is far from the familiar pebbly beach and she knows she is lost.

"Where is home?" Pip asked. Nobody answered. So Pip set off to look.

Pip meets up with a breaching blue whale and repeats her question.

"Home is under the ocean deep...
Where fish are in schools and sea creatures creep.
Where my babies and I swim and leap." the whale sang.

"But that's not MY home," says Pip and continues her quest until she meets a kelp gull and asks again, "Where is home?"

"On the craggy cliffs in a humble nest
With sea to the east and land to the west.
Home is where my little chicks rest," the gull sang.

"But that's not my home," says Pip and waddles on until she meets a team of dogs pulling a sled, and puts her question once more to their leader.

"I can answer that question little bird.
Across the ocean, far away,
Home is where my puppies play."

"But that's not MY home," Pip says. "I want Mama and Papa. I want home." What to do? Sadly, she begins to sing her own family's song of home.

My home is where the land is free...
In a pebbly nest by the stormy sea
Where Mama and Papa and Pip make three.

And, of course, their baby's song is just what Mama and Papa need to find Little Pip, and following her faraway voice, the parents soon are by her side.

"Aren't we going home?" asks the tired little one as Mama and Papa snuggle her warm in their feathers. Mama and Papa kiss her and answer with their own question.

"Where is home? Is it near or far?
Is it a pebbly nest we all hold dear?
No, home is where there is nothing to fear.
Since we are together, home is right here."

The winning team of Karma Wilson and Jane Chapman (creators of the best-selling Bear Snores On series) tells a wonderfully warm tale of the meaning of home and family in their latest collaboration, Where Is Home, Little Pip? Wilson's soothing rhymes and Chapman's beautiful illustrations, done in wintry blues and whites with warm touches of pink and brown, combine in the reassuring evergreen message that home is indeed where the heart is.

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