No Place Like Home

illustrated by Vanessa Cabban

Mole thinks that his burrow is small and dark and dull. So he sets off to find somewhere BIG and BRIGHT and BEAUTIFUL instead. But finding the perfect home is not that simple.

“With a warm and satisfying conclusion, Jonathan Emmett has proved that he can write with clear insight and sympathy into the mind of young children and his books are filled with their sense of wonder.”
INVERNESS COURIER

“A modern fable, infused with friendship and contentment …
joy-filled, endearing and memorable.”
THE ADVERTISER, BENDIGO AUSTRALIA

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UK Paperback
ISBN-10: 1406373117 • ISBN-13: 978-1406373110
US Hardcover
ISBN-10: 076362554X • ISBN-13 : 978-0763625542

Other Books in the 'Mole and Friends' Series

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Author's Note

Bringing Down the Moon proved to be one of my most popular picture books and so its publishers, Walker Books, were keen for me to produce another story featuring Mole and his friends. However this proved difficult.  None of the plots I came up with seemed to be quite right for the characters*, so in the end I decided to put the project aside to work on other stories.

One of these stories was about a family of mice living in a farmyard.  The story began with the mice living comfortably in a hole in the wall of a barn. The mice are not happy with their lot, so they set off on a journey around the farm in search of a new home.  But while they found places that suited one or another of their requirements, there was always something else wrong with the location.  And in the end they realised that the place best suited to them was their old hole.

Before I had finished the first draft of the story, I realised that this plot was a good fit with Mole’s impetuous, aspirational character.  So I began rewriting the story around Mole and his friends.

In Bringing Down the Moon, Mole learnt that he couldn’t possess the thing that he found attractive, but he could still enjoy its beauty.  In No Place Like Home Mole learns that the things he finds attractive aren’t always suited to his needs.  I think that’s something that many people will have experienced, whether they’re choosing a new home or a new pair of shoes.

One of the elements that helped to shape this second Mole story was that I had Vanessa Cabban’s illustrations for the first book in my head.  Having a clear idea of what the characters and setting looked like was obviously useful, but another influence was the dominant use of the colour blue throughout the first book.  I thought it would be good to give Vanessa the opportunity to give this second book a different dominant colour, so the story is set in spring time when everything is green.**

The dominance of blue in the first book is chiefly a result of the illustrations’ horizon line being pushed down so that most of the page is filled with the background of the blue night sky.  In this second book, Vanessa has cleverly pulled the horizon line up on many pages so that most of the illustration is filled with the foreground of green grass (as is well demonstrated by the two covers below).

BringingDownTheMoon
No-Place-Like-Home-(cover)

Vanessa filled the illustrations in each book with a dominant colour by moving the horizon line up and down.

As she did in the first book, Vanessa has extended the story beyond the text with a clever use of the endpapers, imprint and title pages.  I particularly like the final endpaper that shows the cosy glow coming from Mole’s hole, which echoes the glow of the sunrise on the initial endpaper.

 
* One of the stories I came up with was about Squirrel’s frustrated attempts to make a huge dinner for Mole and his friends.  I subsequently reworked this story with other characters as What Friend’s Do Best.  Although the story has the same basic plot, the reworked version is about an inventor trying to build a space rocket.
** This colour theme will be continued with the third Mole book, A Diamond in the Snow, which is set in wintertime and has white as its dominant colour.

Reviews

Children will love these cozy characters, and Cabban’s lush, grass-green watercolors are a perfect reflection of their world.
Kelley Rae Unger, SCHOOL LIBRARY JOURNAL

Join Mole as he searches for a new home in this charming, easy-to-read picture book … The text and illustrations of this book create a fabulous picture book story for young readers. Readers young and old will identify with the theme of recognizing that what we like is not always what we need.
Mindy Hardwick, CHILDREN’S LITERATURE

Emmett builds his story with repeated phrases, ideal for reading aloud and for child participation … Cabban’s illustrations are full of sunny woodland colours and humour (the expression on the hedgehog’s face as it crosses the stepping stones is wonderful), ideally complementing the text.
BOOKTRUST

BEAUTIFUL watercolour illustrations, bold, chunky text and a lovely story make ”No Place Like Home” a picture book most pre-school children will find hard to resist … With a warm and satisfying conclusion, Jonathan Emmett has proved that he can write with clear insight and sympathy into the mind of young children and his books are filled with their sense of wonder.
INVERNESS COURIER

A modern fable, infused with friendship and contentment … No Place Like Home is elegantly brought to life in light refreshing, shades, echoing an English summer’s day. Through its simplicity, the story is joy-filled, endearing and memorable – making it a perfect gift idea.
THE ADVERTISER, BENDIGO AUSTRALIA