The Journey Home has been republished in a beautiful ten year anniversary edition. It takes a poignant look at the experiences and emotions of endangered animals who travel far from home when their habitats and lives are put in danger. It mirrors the current situation in Ukraine and the uncertainty and emotions of refugees who have no idea when they will be able to go back home.
The Story: The ice is melting and Polar Bear has no food so he decides to go for a swim. He finds a boat and ends up in the city where he meets Panda. Panda joins him and as they continue their journey they meet Orangutang and Elephant. After a storm hits them they realise that they are all very far from home. They end up on an island where they meet Dodo who tells them that once their habitats are safe and sustainable they can go back to where they came from.
We all know what happened to Dodo and this story serves as a stark reminder of what can happen to other endangered species if we don’t take care of our planet, our animals’ habitats and, in the case of elephants, stop hunting.
All of the animals in the story are endangered in some way and it’s easy to empathise with their emotions as they struggle to make sense of their situations. The ice is melting and Polar Bear has no food, Orangutang is suffering because so many trees are being chopped down.
We absolutely love the muted palette and the simplicity of Frann Preston-Gannon’s illustrations which effectively portray the starkness of the situation that the animals find themselves in. There is more colour when they reach Dodo’s island where they wait to see what tomorrow brings – a tomorrow that is in our hands…
There is huge potential for learning from The Journey Home and it can be used to stimulate conversations about environmental issues and animal conservation. At the end of the book is a page of questions followed by information about each of the animals and the work that is being done to help them. We also like the project ideas including making posters and writing a letter from the point of the view of the animal. General ideas to help the environment are also included – cycling more, eating less meat and being aware of plastic consumption.
Author / Illustrator: Frann-Preston Gannon
Thank you to Pavilion Books for sending a review copy of this thought provoking story.