Home and Dry

The Paddling family live on a tiny island, surrounded by a lake. Mrs Sally Paddling catches fish, Mr Albert Paddling teaches swimming, and they travel everywhere by row boat. This is how they live all year round, with their son and new baby. Well, except in summer, when the lake dries. Then, unfortunately, they have quite a way to travel to partake in their beloved water-based activities.

From autumn through to the following summer, Sarah L. Smith gently captures this family’s simple life through the seasons, in her words and art. The swirls of soft pastel add energy to the wind and rain that batter their tiny house, and the pencil lines pick out the expressive details in each character. A small black cat and Labrador disappear and appear throughout the illustrations, which younger readers will enjoy seeking out.

There is one distant Paddling relative in the city, that lives quite an opposite life to the family’s, and he decides to write a letter, and visit them on a summer’s day. A storm brings heavy rain, and soon Uncle Paddling is in danger. A dramatic rescue and serendipitous family reunion see the Paddling clan home and dry. A sweet story that celebrates the home, and the extended family.