Coming On Home Soon, This Perfect Picture Book Friday.

Happy first day of May, and happy Perfect Picture Book Friday!

For today’s book review memory, I’m taking you back in time to when I was three years old, lacking the life experiences needed to understand the complex adult world.

I remember listening to conversations I couldn’t follow and knew from the urgency in my mother’s voice that something had changed and was no longer right. I gauged the importance of that situation on the emotions around me. Why had my father’s smile been replaced with worry? Why was my mother arranging a flight to someplace called Germany? I didn’t mind the extra hugs I received. What I minded was that those hugs served to console me about a situation I couldn’t understand. My Grandmother had grown quite ill and had no one to care for her, and my mother was leaving to help.

I didn’t know when my mother was leaving because my parents shared few details to keep me from worrying. Then, one night I knew.

Mom came into the bedroom I shared with my sister and caressed my cheek to wake me. She pulled me up into a hug, and when I wrapped my arms around her and felt her wool coat, I cried. Mom squeezed me tighter and promised to return home as soon as my grandmother became well again. She couldn’t say when… She laid me down and gave me a small pillow to hug that held a little music box within. She wound the dial and, for the first time, I heard Brahm’s Lullaby. She kissed me and left me in my dimly lit room, listening to a song she thought would bring comfort. A long month passed before Dad told me my mother was flying back home.  More tears. This time happy.

This brings me to the heart-touching picture book I’m sharing with you today by Jacqueline Woodson.

Title – Coming On Home Soon

Written by- Jacqueline Woodson

Illustrated by – E. B. Lewis

Published by- Scholastic – 2004

Topics – Mother and daughter, patience, waiting, hoping.

Opening – Mama’s hands are warm and soft. When she put her Sunday dress into the satchel, I held my breath.
Tried hard no to cry.
Ada Ruth, she said. They’re hiring colored women in Chicago since all the men are off fighting in the war.
Mama folded another dress and put it in the bag.
I’m gonna head on up there.

Synopsis from Amazon. Ada Ruth’s mama must go away to Chicago to work, leaving Ada Ruth and Grandma behind. It’s wartime, and women are needed to fill the men’s jobs. As winter sets in, Ada Ruth and her grandma keep up their daily routine, missing Mama all the time. They find strength in each other, and a stray kitten even arrives one day to keep them company, but nothing can fill the hole Mama left. Every day they wait, watching for the letter that says Mama will be coming on home soon. Set during World War II, Coming On Home Soon has a timeless quality that will appeal to all who wait and hope.

Learn more about Jacqueline Woodson HERE.

Learn more about E.B. Lewis HERE.

Until next Friday.

18 thoughts on “Coming On Home Soon, This Perfect Picture Book Friday.

  1. I absolutely love Woodson’s writing. She has such a strong sense of voice. And you do, too, when you’re telling your own stories. I’m so glad that yours had a happy ending. I haven’t read this one of Woodson’s will have to rectify that situation when the libraries re-open here. Thanks for the rec!

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  2. This is one of my all time favorites! In fact it’s on my desktop as I reread it again this morning. Did you notice it is written in both past and present tense? Genius! How difficult to have your mom leave for a whole month. That is a long time for a three year old. Thanks for sharing.

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    • It’s funny how I can’t remember my first truly marvelous moment in life, but the first truly sad moment has stayed with me like glue. Coming On Home Soon is one of my favorite picture books, too. The emotional writing brings the reader into the moment quickly and holds them there until the last page.

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  3. I can’t believe I missed this Woodson gem. I love sharing books about separations — whether due to a loss, imprisonment, deployment, family illness etc — this book can be used in many ways. I love historical fiction, as this is a different story about WW II. The cover speak really draws you to Ada Ruth’s story. And E.B. White’s illustrations are always gorgeous! Thanks for sharing.

    Liked by 1 person

    • ‘A Woodson gem’ precisely describes this book. I can’t say how many times I’ve read it, but I do know that I’ve enjoyed the story each time. And yes, E.B. White’s illustrations are not only gorgeous but are the perfect complement to this story.

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