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Published: 4 Mar 2021

Hardback, 32 pages

Recommended for age 3+ and 5+

By Jeanne Willis

Illustrated by Paddy Donnelly

Published by Andersen Press Ltd

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Hom is the last of his kind. I don't know what kind of creature he is, and nobody knows he exists... apart from me.

When a boy washes up on a desert island, he is sure he's on his own in the world. But there's someone else living there: Hom, a peace-loving creature who has lost his family, too. Alone on the island together, they learn from each other and become the best of friends.

So when a rescue ship appears on the horizon, the boy has a big decision to make...

Tagged friends and school and top pick

Jeanne Willis is a writer with an incisive wit that cuts straight to the point in books like Tadpole's Promise. Listen to the podcast.

The Best Books Year 1 pack

Easy purchase - add our curated pack to your basket with one click

  • Clean Up!
  • The Worries: Sohal Finds a Friend
  • Hom
  • One World: 24 Hours on Planet Earth
  • Bunnies in a Boat
  • The Sea Below My Toes
  • Once Upon A Fairytale
  • How to Be Cooler than Cool
  • Elephant Island
  • A Bear's Guide to Beekeeping
  • My Mum is a Lioness
  • A Song of Gladness A story of hope for us and our planet
  • When Ice Cream Had a Meltdown
  • The Blue-Footed Booby
  • Our Tower
  • Three Little Monkeys Ride Again #3
  • A Dress with Pockets
  • Where is Everybody?
  • Unicorns Don't Love Sparkles
  • The Unicorn who Came to Breakfast
  • The Song of the Nightingale
  • The Seed of Doubt
  • The Perfect Present
  • The Boy Who Sailed the World
  • Tell Me a Lion Story
  • Strong and Tough
  • The Worries: Shara and the Really Big Sleepover
  • Pick a Story: A Pirate Alien Jungle Adventure
  • Never Let a Diplodocus Draw
  • Mum, Me and the Mulberry Tree
  • Mister Boo!
  • Margaret's Unicorn
  • Kitsy Bitsy's Noisy Neighbours
  • Eye Spy
  • Ella and the Waves
  • Dadaji's Paintbrush
  • A Mathematician Like Me
  • The Robber Raccoon
  • The Marvellous Doctors for Magical Creatures
  • The Girl Who Noticed Everything
  • The Baker by the Sea
  • Animal Explorers: Stella the Astronaut
  • Somebody Woke Wilson
  • Dinos Don't Give Up!
  • Dimple and the Boo

The Library Boost for 5+ pack

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  • The Proudest Blue
  • Hey You!
  • What About The Tooth Fairy?
  • Pip and Egg
  • Bloom
  • The Pirate Mums
  • Can Bears Ski?
  • Never Teach a Stegosaurus to Do Sums
  • The Screen Thief
  • Tiger Walk
  • Mooncat and Me
  • Stella and the Seagull
  • Move, Mr Mountain!
  • Where Is the Dragon?
  • Julian at the Wedding
  • Hom
  • How to Be Cooler than Cool
  • Frog vs Toad
  • Llama Glamarama
  • Gloria's Porridge
  • A Way with Wild Things
  • Too Much Stuff
  • Splash
  • Wolf Girl
  • My Day with the Panye
  • The Tale of the Whale
  • Book Hospital
  • Somewhere
  • Firecrackers

Reviewed by Nikki Gamble

Hom: The best of friends, the last of his kind

One terrible stormy night a ship is wrecked. A solitary boy survives, washed up on the shores of an uninhabited island… but is he really alone? Out of the corner of his eye, he spies a creature, different to himself but more alike than different. The two form a bond,  connected by the loss of their families. Friendship grows.  The boy learns survival skills but he can share knowledge from his technologically more advanced world too. They each having something to bring to their new relationship. And then a momentous day – a ship appears, rescue seems imminent but the boy chooses friendship on the island:

I couldn’t take Hom with me. And I couldn’t bear to leave him. If the sailors came ashore and saw him, his life would never be the same.

Jeanne Willis is a writer who can assume different voices like wearing different hats. Hom fits within what I think of as her reflective strand, promoting a sense of awe and wonder at the natural world.  It fits her with stories like The Bog Baby, King of the Tiny Things and The Wild Child. The reader is invited to imagine what it would be like to be the last of your kind.

Paddy Donnelly’s illustrations make the point that while some extinctions, like the dinosaur extinction, are an inevitable part of the grand cycle of life on Earth, others have been brought about by human desire to hunt or collect trophies.

Like many of Jeanne’s stories, a tale that seems straightforward has hidden depths. The point at which the boy makes the sacrifice to remain for the sake of his friend is poignant but heartwarming. For some readers, the theme of how society treats outsiders that look different and come from different places will resonate. Others may make connections with well-loved stories such as ET, The Iron Man or King Kong. Others will simply relish the adventure that the boy and Hom will have together on their exotic island where they have everything they need to live a happy life.

A lovely story for reading with children from 3 upwards. There is plenty of scope for book-based projects in infant classes and potentially the themes can be explored with children in the lower junior classes too.



Nikki Gamble
Formerly a teacher (secondary and primary) and university lecturer, with over 35 years’ experience, Nikki has worked extensively in schools across the UK and internationally. She is the author of Exploring Children’s Literature now in its fourth edition (Sage, 2019) Co-author of Guiding Readers, winner of the UKLA Academic Book award (UCL, 2016). Nikki runs workshops for teachers, librarians, students and researchers on different aspects of children's literature, an online summer school and an Audience with events, celebrating writers and illustrators who have made an exceptional contribution to the world of children's books. Further information

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