Reading with Pearl: Home by Carson Ellis

Home – Carson Ellis (Candlewick Press, 2015)

Pearl’s favourite books are the ones with the stock photos of babies. You know the ones, generic babies of various ethnicities doing generic baby things like taking baths and wearing hats. She loves them and coos over those babies like she’s looking at herself. (Which I guess is the point.) I, on the other hand, am a sucker for a well-illustrated children’s book. Hopefully Pearl will grow in her art appreciation.

We were given this beautifully illustrated picture book as a gift when Pearl was just a few months old. I recognized Carson Ellis‘ work from her illustrations for The Decemberists but didn’t know that she had done so much art for children. (She also did the illustrations for The Mysterious Benedict Society.)

This book is simple and sweet and really all about the illustrations.


Ellis presents different homes – some realistic, some whimsical – each one intricately portrayed. It feels like it should rhyme but it doesn’t. With an older child it could spark a fun or thoughtful conversation about where people live and how different those places can be. We’ve got everything here from a Slovakian duchess to a raccoon so there are endless imaginative possibilities and that’s one of my favourite things in a book for children.

4 thoughts on “Reading with Pearl: Home by Carson Ellis”

  1. I gave my nieces (around ages 3 and 4) a beautiful Shelly Jackson picture book one year. Her art looks more like this, but it was a no go. Jackson writes crazy experimental fiction for adults, so I though, incorrectly, it could be a link between us. I also got them Kate Beaton’s The Princess and the Pony this Christmas; it was a no go (now they’re 6 and 7).

    1. Ooh, I just looked Shelly Jackson up and her art is so cool! I like Kate Beaton’s stuff that I’ve seen. Was The Princess and the Pony too young or old for them or did they just not like it? It’s hard buying for other people’s kids…I’ve run into similar issues with my nieces and nephews. In my experience, most kids don’t really care about interesting and unique artwork (Pearl certainly doesn’t, haha!) I always give books for birthdays and my success rate is so-so but I keep trying!

    2. I think it’s that I give books during a special day, like Christmas or a birthday, when they get a bunch of presents, so the books go in a pile with the other presents and then is carted home to be lost among the Barbies and new cowgirl boots and whatnot that they always get.

      Shelly Jackson did this AMAZING book project . She wrote a “book” called Skin…but no one’s allowed to read it. The only way to read it is to submit an application to be part of the story. What does that mean? Shelly Jackson sends the accepted applicants one word from the story (they don’t get to pick which one) and then they have to tattoo it on their body anywhere they want but in the specified font. Those people get copies of the story. When someone who is involved in this “body story” passes away, Jackson removes their word from the story, which inevitably changes the story each time someone dies. Here’s a link:

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