Free Kid to Good Home by Hiroshi Ito

Free Kid to Good Home – at a glance

The School Reading Lists’ five word review: funny, affectionate, illustrated, charming, sweet.
Children’s book title: Free Kid to Good Home.
Children’s author: Hiroshi Ito
Children’s illustrator: Cathy Hirano
Genre: Graphic novel.
Published by: Gecko Press.
ISBN: 9781776574513
Recommended for children aged: 7+
First published: Paperback July 2022.
This children’s book is ideal for: KS2 comic book fans and reluctant readers.

Free Kid to Good Home by Hiroshi Ito

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Our review:

The surprise arrival of a baby brother leaves his new big sister feeling most put out. While her parents dote on him, she thinks ‘he looks just like a potato’ who spends all his time crying. Fed up with being ignored, the little girl decides to run away to find a new home where she’ll be appreciated.

“I’m never going back. I’m going to be the world’s cutest stray kid.”

Taking a discarded cardboard box, she writes ‘Free kid’ in her best writing and climbs inside to wait for someone to claim her. She’s not going to go with just anyone though. Her new parents must be wonderful, with a big house, a swimming pool, lots of servants and ‘there won’t be a single potato-faced brother’.

“My new father will be handsome and kind and my mother will be beautiful and smart. And I’ll be the only one they love.”

As she waits, she’s joined by other waifs and strays looking for new homes. There’s a dog who wants a big yard and owners who won’t yell at his muddy paws, a cat who’s looking for a warm bed and tasty food, and even a turtle who is very particular about the required temperature of his aquarium.

Free Kid to Good Home by Hiroshi Ito spread

When her companions all find new homes, the little girl starts to wonder if she’ll ever find a home with parents who love her, even if it does come with a potato-faced brother…

Free Kid to Good Home is a charming comic-style chapter book that tackles the issue of sibling rivalry in a sweet and humorous manner. The simple two-colour drawings and conversational narrative make it easily accessible for newly-independent readers or for younger children to read with support.

A best-seller in Japan for over thirty years, this is the first English translation. The expressive characters and gentle humour make for a delightful read. The innocent jealousy of going from being an only child to having to share your parents’ affection is one that will resonate with any older sibling and this would be an ideal book for a child who is about to welcome a new brother or sister to their family.

Free Kid to Good Home is a light, engaging tale that will appeal to comic book fans and all young readers who have secretly (or not so secretly) resented the arrival of a potato-faced baby to the family.

Many thanks to Gecko Press for the review copy.

If you like Free Kid to Good Home by Hiroshi Ito you might also like: our reviews of The Cartoons that Saved the World by Tom Ellen, The More Monster, written and illustrated by Hayley Wells, When Creature Met Creature by John Agard, illustrated by Satoshi Kitamura and Big Sky Mountain by Alex Milway.

Browse our list of year 2 books and year 3 books lists

About Melanie Dillon

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Melanie has a Master’s degree in Information and Library Management; a Post Graduate Certificate in Children’s Literature focusing on the Reading Agency’s Reading Well scheme & LGBT YA fiction, and extensive experience working in school and public libraries. Linkedin | Reviews by Melanie Dillon