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*Ned's New Home* by Kevin Tseng
Ned's New Home
by Kevin Tseng
Baby-PreK 32 pages Tricycle Press August 2009 Hardcover    

Ned doesnít want to move, but his house is a fallen apple and itís starting to rot. He tries to make his home in six different places, but each has a shortcoming.

A watermelon is too spacious for one worm, and a pear is too tippy. In a kiwi house Nedís friends canít find him, and in a lemon house, they donít like what Ned makes for them to eat. Cherries may have made a suitable house, but before Ned can find out, a bird carries him away.

Knowing he needs to escape, Ned opens his umbrella and floats safely into a tree full of red fruit - Nedís favorite color! Itís here Ned finds a perfect house, and makes a new friend.

This little green worm likes to bake, garden and entertain. He doesnít own much in terms of furniture, but when he unpacks, he makes it feel like home. He keeps a picture of his friends - a snail, a ladybug, and two ants - on his wall, flowers outside his front door, and shutters on his windows.

Although he lives by himself, children will identify with his childlike appearance and behavior. He covers a bump on his head with a little pink bandage, and when he packs, he always brings his toy sailboat.

Kevin Tseng uses humor in both the text and the illustrations in Ned's New Home. When describing the rotting apple, he writes, ďThe walls turned to mush, and apple juice rained every day.Ē When Nedís belongings start to float away because of all the apple juice accumulating on the floor of his house, Ned is drawn sitting inside his bathtub with a life preserver around his neck.

A hardworking and creative fellow, Ned never becomes frustrated when moving. He will frown, but the most he will say is ďhumph!Ē when another house fails to suit his needs. He moves on from house to house with his brown suitcase, immediately proceeding to get his new home ready. He carries a blueberry on his head to build a blueberry house or starts sketching plans to make his cherry house.

Tsengís watercolor illustrations begin on the endpapers of this book, showing an apple seed growing into a tree and what happens when an apple falls out of that same tree. With only one or two sentences per page, Ned's New Home is a quick read, but parents and teachers can make this story interactive by asking children about the colors, shapes, and sizes they see on the pages. Can they find Nedís favorite color on the page? Can they point out the biggest house in the story, or identify the color inside a kiwi?

If a child hasnít tried some of the fruit mentioned in this book, this would be a good time to introduce them. Will they find a lemon sour like Nedís friends do, or will they love the taste of apple pie like Ned does?

Nedís story shows that if you are open-minded, you can find a home (or a friend) in the most unexpected places.

Tseng studied biology and fine art in school and works as a graphic designer and illustrator. Ned's New Home is his first picture book. While Nedís favorite food is apple pie, Tsengís is chocolate layer cake. He lives in California.
 


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  Tanya Boudreau/2009 for curled up with a good kid's book  






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