Heartwood Hotel: Home Again, by Kallie George | Book Review
Written by Kallie George
Illustrated by Stephanie Graegin
Age Range: 7-10
Hardcover Book: 176 pages
Publisher: Disney Hyperion
What to expect: Animals and Adventures
With adorable animals, adventure, and a touch of mystery, HOME AGAIN, the final book of the Heartwood Hotel series, is as sweet and satisfying as a well-baked acorn cake.
Mona, a mouse, lives and works at the Heartwood Hotel, a bustling place filled with all manner of forest creatures. There are squirrels and porcupines—and even bats can come to stay (their rooms have upside-down beds on the ceiling!). Her parents have passed away, but Mona has made friends and found a home among the animals who work in the hotel. Her best friend, Tilly, works there too. But when Strawberry, a lovely mouse who loves to cook just like Mona’s mother, comes to stay and begins to help around the kitchen, Mona starts to have questions. Are they related? Is Strawberry a long-lost family member?
All that is put aside as a fire strikes their beautiful little Fernwood Forest. Forced from the home that Mona loves, she travels with Strawberry back to her hotel, the InnBetween. When word comes of the Heartwood Hotel being in danger, Mona has a difficult choice to make. Will she and her friends be able to save the hotel they call home? And will Strawberry’s connection to Mona be revealed?
Filled with beautifully rendered sketched illustrations and a heartwarming story, HOME AGAIN is the perfect spring read for early elementary school children. Author Kallie George weaves the mystery of Strawberry’s relationship to Mona through the frightening prospect of a forest fire that could destroy the hotel. Mona’s fear for her home is balanced with her growing excitement in discovering whether or not Strawberry is a relative. The high stakes of losing a home to a fire is presented with just the right amount of gravitas.
The seven and up age group are experiencing real-life problems, possibly for the first time, and reading about Mona and her very real problem of perhaps losing a home to a fire, and how she can still survive and be happy, is an excellent example. Sometimes things in life are hard – Mona has already lost her parents. But she goes on to find friends and a life at the Heartwood. Encased in a fun and exhilarating story, HOME AGAIN does more than entertain. As with the best books, it teaches children (and the adults who read with them!) something: Bad things happen, but life goes on, and we can refind happiness. Highly recommended.
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About the Author
Kallie George is the author of the Magical Animal Adoption Agency series, as well as the Heartwood Hotel series. She works as an author and speaker in Vancouver, Canada, and she holds a master’s in children’s literature from the University of British Columbia. In addition to writing books for young readers, she leads workshops for aspiring writers. She happened across the Heartwood Hotel on a hike with her husband and wishes she was a mouse like Mona so she could stay there, too. Visit Kallie online at kalliegeorge.com, and visit the Heartwood at heartwoodhotel.com.
About the Illustrator
Born during a blizzard on Groundhog Day in Chicago, Illinois, Stephanie Graegin spent her childhood drawing and collecting fauna in Fort Wayne, Indiana and Houston, Texas. She received her BFA in Fine Arts from the Maryland Institute College of Art in Baltimore, Maryland. She later attended Pratt Institute in Brooklyn, New York, obtaining a Master of Fine Arts in Printmaking. Stephanie now lives in Brooklyn, is still drawing, and has managed to keep her collection down to one orange cat. Find out more at graegin.com.
Heartwood Hotel: Home Again, written by Kallie George and illustrated by Stephanie Graegin, was reviewed by Denise Mealy. Discover more books like Heartwood Hotel: Home Again by following along with our reviews and articles tagged with Adventure, Chapter Book Series, Forest Animals, Kallie George, Mice, and Stephanie Graegin.
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