This Way Up is the story of a girl experiencing all the mixed-up emotions and confusion that a big move can cause in young children. She is moving back into her old house, but nothing is familiar anymore and she doesn’t feel any of the excitement that her parents seem to be experiencing about moving back into their family home.
I love that it is eventually family, particularly the memories of special times at the house with her grandparents and cousins, that helps Grace to feel at home. Once her extended family appears, Grace finally feels a sense of belonging.
The story is sweet and very appealing, very clearly reflecting Grace’s emotional response to the move. Author/illustrator Kylie Dunstan has also created a story that has a wonderful visual appeal with her collage –style illustrations conveying the busyness and chaos of unpacking after moving house.
As a parent, This Way Up also reminded me that even situations that might seem very positive at first glance, such as returning to the family home after time spent living elsewhere, can be overwhelming to a young child. I love the way Grace’s parents help her to adjust and take her feelings into account as they all settle into their ‘new’ home.
Title: This Way Up
Author/ Illustrator: Kylie Dunstan
Publisher: Windy Hollow Books, $25.95 RRP
Publication Date: September 2013
For ages: 3-7
Type: Picture Book