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The Picture Book Buzz

Vincent Comes Home - Perfect Picture Book Friday #PPBF

At some point in their life, I imagine everyone's wondered what "home" meant. Was it wherever their things were? Where they were born? Wherever a special someone lived with them (parent, pet, significant other)? Or is there an indefinable something that makes a place a home?

Vincent the cat, faces this struggle to define and figure out what "home" means.

Vincent Comes Home

Author: Jessixa Bagley

Illustrator: Aaron Bagley

Publisher: Roaring Brook Press (2018)

Ages: 4-6



Finding one's home, boats, cats, and travel.

Synopsis (from book jacket):

Vincent lives on a cargo ship. Life is good - fresh fish to eat and seagulls to chase all day long. At night he stares at the stars that chart his ship's course.

Though the ship makes stops all over the world, Vincent has never been home. In fact, he wonders that "home" is. Then, when one final stop is made and the crew return to their families, Vincent takes his first steps on dry land and discovers where his home truly lies.

Opening Lines:

Vincent lived on a cargo ship.

His paws had never touched land.

Ship life was good.

Fresh fish whenever he wanted. Seagulls to chase all day long.

Why I like this book:

This book spoke directly to me. As an army brat, I moved around for most of my life. Home was were my stuff landed. Until I attended the University of Washington, when the Puget Sound became my home. I loved finding Mount Rainier, the Port and its cargo ships, the cell towers on Queen Anne hill, Smith Tower, the viaduct, and the Seattle waterfront tucked into the pages of this story.

Vincent, a marmalade cat, enjoys a great life traveling the world aboard the cargo ship named "Domus" ("home" in Latin) eating fresh fish, chasing seagulls, watching stars, and hanging out in his favorite place - the souvenir decorated captain's cabin.

When the crew discusses their excitement about going Home, a curious Vincent decides to follow a crewman to discover what Home is. Watching numerous, diverse families through windows, Vincent discovers "Home isn't just a place" and decides, "I guess I don't have a Home."

Jessixa and Aaron create a fun twist on a refrain by using a bar of music sung (or hummed) by the captain. After Vincent reaches this dark moment, it is this refrain which signals the arrival of his captain and confirmation that Vincent does indeed have a home.

This is a tender, genuine look at what "home" means - a place "where people who love you are." A fun story for those who love cats, travel, boats, and Puget Sound. It even includes peeks into the operation and activity of a cargo ship. The pen and watercolor images draw the reader through various exotic locations (tropics, arctic, and Mediterranean) and beautiful coastal towns with a fun combination of distinct lines and texturing.


- make paper boats out of different types of paper. Which floats better? (;

- besides a boat, a house, or an apartment, where else do people or animals live that they call home?

- what makes your home a "home"?

This post is part of a series by authors and KidLit bloggers called Perfect Picture Book Fridays. For more picture book suggestions see Susanna Leonard Hill's Perfect Picture Books.

Maria Marshall

 Photograph © A. Marshall

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