Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “Home in the Woods” as Want to Read:
Home in the Woods
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating
Open Preview

Home in the Woods

4.55  ·  Rating details ·  1,076 ratings  ·  234 reviews
This picture book from Eliza Wheeler is based on her grandmother's childhood and pays homage to a family's fortitude as they discover the meaning of home.

Eliza Wheeler’s book tells the story of what happens when six-year-old Marvel, her seven siblings, and their mom must start all over again after their father has died. Deep in the woods of Wisconsin they find a tar-paper
Hardcover, 40 pages
Published October 1st 2019 by Nancy Paulsen Books
More Details... Edit Details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.

Community Reviews

Showing 1-30
Average rating 4.55  · 
Rating details
 ·  1,076 ratings  ·  234 reviews

More filters
Sort order
Start your review of Home in the Woods
Amalia Gkavea
‘’Snow falls in a blanket of diamonds all around the shack. The jack pines sway above as we fall asleep close together. But Mum stays awake into the night, whispering to the stars…’’

Wisconsin, 1932. Little Marvel’s family has been struck by the devastating effects of the Great Depression. Their house is lost but most importantly, the father of the family has gone to live with the angels...Now, Mum and her eight children must create a household in an almost run-down shack in the woods. The ch
Oct 16, 2019 rated it it was amazing
This book is just beautiful. Knowing that it's based on the true story of the author's grandmother made it even more special.

Marvel is six years old when her father passes away in 1932. Because of this, Marvel, her mother, and seven siblings must start their lives over. In the woods of Wisconsin they discover a tar-paper shack and they quickly move in. At first, the living circumstances are difficult and they struggle to make ends meet, especially during the first frigid winter. The children ad
Rod Brown
Feb 09, 2020 rated it really liked it
Not so much a story as a wonderful tribute -- told in vignettes -- to the author's great-grandmother, who created a warm and loving family environment for her eight children despite living at poverty levels in a shack in the woods of Wisconsin during the Great Depression immediately following the death of her husband. Beautifully drawn.

(I didn't find out until afterward that Wheeler also provided the art for the delightful Incorrigible Children of Ashton Place series.)
This awesome historical fiction picture book takes readers to the Great Depression of the early 1930s when many families struggled to find work to make enough money to buy the basics - a home, food, clothing, etc. The author based this story on the experiences of her grandmother's family in northern Wisconsin. Without a home, Marvel's mother and her children moved into a small abandoned shack in the woods. Through the seasons, hard work and determination allowed this family to have everything th ...more
This is one of my top children’s books of the year. In 1932 in Northern Wisconsin, a widow and her eight children make a new home in a run down shack in the woods.
Susan Bazzett-Griffith
An absolutely gorgeous picture book that I picked up just because I thought the illustrations were so enticing- reminded me of the Barbara Shook Hazen books that I loved so much when I was a kid--Home in the Woods is a sweet story about a large family and how they manage to find happiness living in a tar paper shack in the woods after losing their father during the years of The Great Depression. The details about how the family worked together, lived off the land and managed to have fun despite ...more
Feb 04, 2020 rated it it was amazing
This was a beautiful story about starting new after a loss, and the hope and hardship that comes with it. Gorgeous illustrations too.
Nov 19, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Wow. Went straight to my heart. Beautiful, inspiring. Brought tears to my eyes as the author mentions in her afterward that most of the generation of the Great Depression are leaving us and we need to collect their stories while we still can. (This is her grandmother's story.) I also appreciate that she encourages others to share their family stories at her website. Highly recommend. ...more
Dana Stabenow
May 24, 2020 rated it really liked it
It's the Great Depression, and Marvel's dad is dead and she and her siblings and their mom have to find somewhere else to live. They find a little shack in the middle of the woods in northern Wisconsin, and this book is the first year of their lives there, wonderfully told and beautifully illustrated.

The story is based on the true-life experiences of the author's grandmother and in an afterword she writes, "What an incredibly hard time it must have been, and yet they recall the memories from tho
Jul 17, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Cozy :)
Follows a family of 8 and their widowed mother as they move into a shack in the woods during the Great Depression. They make a home for themselves and fill the woods with their love and laughter as they do chores and pick berries. A sweet reminder of how much we truly have even when it appears we have nothing. Also, this would make a great picture book to read before moving on to the Little House on the Prairie books.
A uniquely sentimental historical picture book that is about Wheeler's grandmother, Marvel. Her and her seven siblings and their mother no longer had a home and soon after, her father died of cancer. They trudged into the woods and found an abandoned tar paper home and promptly made it a home.

It's a lesson in perseverance as all of the children pitched in to help and Marvel's mom found ways to engage and entertain her children with literally nothing. They canned fruits and veggies. They traded
Margaret Chind
Sep 16, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: EVERYONE
Recommended to Margaret by: Edelweiss
This book has it all. Beautiful illustrations, an interested lot of characters to favor, and a message that is timeless less the children of the world forget that depression eras come and go. I enjoyed every minute of reading a digital copy of this book, Home in the Woods. I wouldn't hesitate to add a physical copy to our shelves.

I read an eARC via Edelweiss
Michael Fitzgerald
Nov 04, 2019 rated it liked it
Shelves: picture-books
I wish I could give this more stars, but this story of a year living off the land has been told many times before and better by others. There is nothing that makes it stand out - even less so because this is a picture book and there are only a couple dozen words on each spread.
Richie Partington
Nov 04, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: picturebooks
Richie’s Picks: HOME IN THE WOODS by Eliza Wheeler, Nancy Paulsen Books, October 2019, 40p., ISBN: 978-0-399-16290-9

“January is the coldest month of the year in Wisconsin, as it becomes exceedingly difficult to stay outdoors even for a few minutes. The temperatures are deathly cold, often dropping below -10°F (-23.3°C) and even plummeting to -30°F (-34.4°C) in the northern highlands.”
-- from “Monthly weather forecast and Climate Wisconsin USA” at

“Deep in the woods, we find a shack
Jul 25, 2020 rated it it was amazing
This story of life during the Great Depression in the early 1930s was inspired by the author/illustrator’s grandmother Marvel, who in this book is a six-year-old girl, one of eight children. The book, which is narrated by Marvel and which revolves around the seasons, begins in summer. Their father recently died (“Dad lives with the angels now”) and they must find a new home and a way to feed themselves. The author writes:

“Deep in these woods, we find a shack
all wrapped in tar paper.
It’s hot outs
Jun 30, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Well. Shit.

I have NEVER had a book rip your heart out and make you want to cry on the first page until yesterday. Hoe. Lee. Shit.

I have a soft spot for the depression era stories. People are circling back around to them now during a time of economic uncertainty and this book could not be more timely. But Eliza. Eliza, you knew what you were doing on that first page. Don't play. Imma not going to trust you again the future not to rip our hearts out.

I highly recommend this for any family that wan
Marathon County Public Library
Do you have a big family with lots of siblings? Growing up, Marvel did! She had seven siblings and her Mum. Who is Marvel? She’s the main character and also the grandmother of Eliza Wheeler, the author and illustrator of this book. This story was inspired by Marvel’s childhood experience of finding a new home with her family and learning together, how to survive life in Northern Wisconsin when she was only six years old.

The family lived during the time of the Great Depression. With the recent pa
Nov 14, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Recommended to Cindy by: Sarah Snider
This book, from its cover both outside and inside, had me captivated before I even started to read what turned out to be an inspiring story! I dearly loved all the detailed illustrations, the story behind the author's plot, her illustrations-this all became nothing short of a struggling yet heartwarming journey! What appears in the woods to this single mom of 8 children resembles a shack but with the changes in seasons, their strength of character is born from their combined team efforts, and th ...more
Juli Anna
Nov 09, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: picture-books
Not only are these illustrations perfectly poignant and lyrical, but the simplicity and sweetness of this story are truly something special. This a story of family and personal perseverance, inventiveness, and love, but it is also a beautiful piece of material history as well. While the details may change from era to era, many families, I feel, cherish a family history akin to this one; I know that mine does. There is less plot here than there is rhythm and mood, but I felt it worked well in thi ...more
This is the amazing true story of 8 siblings and their 34-year-old mother who turn a shack into a home with their hard work and self-discipline during the Great Depression. The story is inspiring and heartwarming as the family enjoys life and each other with what little they have. The endnote in the back was lovely- calling for us to collect these true stories before old souls leave us. It makes me think of my grandmother and all her children and all their stories. It is so important to treasure ...more
Dec 22, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: family, poverty and single parent requests
Recommended to June by: and Katie
I was really touched by this depression era family story of a widow and her eight children finding a shack in the woods and over a year making it a home.

An Author's Note tells how in 1932 when her grandmother was sic, her family was evicted in northern Wisconsin. Her father began moving their belongings into an abandoned ta-paper shack deep in the woods, but died of cancer before they spent a single night there.
Dec 13, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Recommended to Relyn by: Sent to me by the publisher for Show Me nomination consideration.
I love this book. I mean, I have BIG love for this book! The art is amazing, the use of color is impressive, the narrative is compelling. I really think this could be a great entry into historical fiction for some of our older elementary students. I have it in my library and am probably going to want to buy it for my home.
Oct 17, 2019 rated it it was amazing
During the Great Depression, Marvel's family moves to the woods after the death of her father. Sad in the beginning, and hopeful near the end, this story's beautiful illustrations gain more color as the story goes on. Love the watercolors. ...more
Dec 02, 2019 rated it it was amazing
THIS BOOK. It's everything I could have ever wanted as a kid playing orphan-in-the-woods with alarming frequency, and everything I could ever want as an all-grow'd-up liberrian with a soft spot for stories just like this. ...more
Feb 18, 2020 rated it it was ok
Good illustrations, but I was somewhat disappointed with the text. There really isn't a story here, not even a minimal year-in-the-life kind of story. Also, I sometimes had trouble telling the many children apart. ...more
Aug 06, 2020 rated it it was amazing
I wish I had 10 stars to pour over this book. It captures a family's story with such insight and love. This is one to be read by all of us - the determination and hard work demonstrated by them in the midst of extreme sadness and poverty...oh that we all could emulate them to the world around us! ...more
Oct 09, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Beautiful illustrations and beautiful story.
Oct 11, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Richly illustrated and lovingly told story of love and hardship.
« previous 1 3 4 5 6 7 8 next »
There are no discussion topics on this book yet. Be the first to start one »

Readers also enjoyed

  • The Hundred-Year Barn
  • In a Jar
  • Truman
  • On Wings of Words: The Extraordinary Life of Emily Dickinson
  • The Shortest Day
  • A Stone Sat Still
  • Just Like Rube Goldberg: The Incredible True Story of the Man Behind the Machines
  • Cozy
  • Small in the City
  • Ruby Finds a Worry
  • The Hike
  • River
  • Pokko and the Drum
  • M Is for Melanin: A Celebration of the Black Child
  • I Am Perfectly Designed
  • Fry Bread: A Native American Family Story
  • The Tree That's Meant to Be
  • Daniel's Good Day
See similar books…
Eliza Wheeler is the author-illustrator of MISS MAPLE'S SEEDS (Penguin), which debuted on the New York Times Bestseller list. She is also the illustrator of the Newbery Honor winning novel by Holly Black, DOLL BONES (Simon & Schuster), and Mara Rockliff's picture book THE GRUDGE KEEPER (Peachtree). Eliza is the recipient of numerous Society of Children's Book Writers and Illustrators awards, inclu ...more

News & Interviews

  Signed up for the 2021 Goodreads Reading Challenge and looking for tips on how to discover and read more books? We’ve got your back. (And if...
159 likes · 36 comments