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A house that once was
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Trade Reviews

  New York Times Review

HERE, GEORGE! By Sandra Boynton. Illustrated by George Booth The iconic cartoonist Booth sketched a nervous, lovable-looking dog as a gift to Boynton. She turned it into one of her famously funny, perfectly calibrated board books, spinning a droll story about a pup who won't get up - or so his owners think. 32 pp. Simon & Schuster. $7.99. Ages 0 to 5. CIRCLE ROLLS By Barbara Kanninen. Illustrated by Serge Bloch. In this delightful sneak-lesson in geometry, physics, and helping your friends when they're in a jam, some colorful shapes have a bang-up time when Circle starts rolling. In Bloch's minimalist, loose-limbed pen-and-ink art, tiny people try valiantly to pitch in, too. 32 pp. Phaidon. $16.95. Ages 3 to 5. BIG BUNNY Written and illustrated by Rowboat Watkins. Watkins ("Rude Cakes") conjures another homey yet mind-bending story in this bedtime tale about an enormous rabbit, regularsized carrots, some trucker penguins and bus-driving giraffes. The infectious fun continues to the ending, which will be - trust me - a giant, hilarious surprise to both parents and kids. 32 pp. Chronicle. $16.99. Ages 3 to 7. A HOUSE THAT ONCE WAS By Julie Fogliano. Illustrated by Lane Smith. Two kids walking in the woods find an abandoned house. Who lived there? What happened? Accompanied by Lane's evocative art that suggests layers of history, Fogliano's story turns this childhood scenario into a radiant poem about the mysteries of other people and the wonderfulness of home. 42 pp. Roaring Brook. $18.99. Ages 3 to 7. FOREVER OR A DAY Written and illustrated by Sarah Jacoby. In Jacoby's elegant debut, time is both a riddle and a poem: "Perhaps it is a ghost/ it can come and go/ and you never even notice it was there," she writes. Her soft illustrations, in lovely sunrise, sunset and moonlight colors, capture both wide-open spaces and the enduring bonds of family love. 40 pp. Chronicle. $17.99. Ages 3 to 7. MOON Written and illustrated by Alison Oliver. Oliver's picture book debut channels "Where the Wild Things Are" for the hovered-over modern child. Moon, a little girl with a big to-do list, wonders, "What would it feel like to be free?" A wolf arrives to whisk her away to a magical forest where she plays, listens, howls - and becomes an independent kid, keeping her "wolty ways," including (gasp) standing on a swing. 40 pp. Clarion. $17.99. Ages 4 to 7. JEROME BY HEART By Thomas Scotto. Illustrated by Olivier Tallec. It's rare to find a book about friendship between boys this heartfelt. His parents scoff at the intensity of it all, but Raphael wants to spend every minute with Jerome - his school-trip buddy, his defender against mean kids, the friend who always makes him laugh. Both the words and the sweet illustrations capture the spirit behind childhood bonds. 32 pp. Enchanted Lion. $16.95. Ages 4 to 8. RED SKY AT NIGHT Written and illustrated by Elly MacKay Each page of this beautifully designed book has an old-fashioned saying about the weather ("When ladybugs swarm, expect a day that's warm"). With Mac Kay's dreamy cut-paper collage art featuring two siblings exploring outdoors, the old-fashioned approach to weather is oddly reassuring. 40 pp. Tundra. $17.99. Ages 4 to 8. RESCUE & JESSICA: A LIFE-CHANGING FRIENDSHIP By Jessica Kensky and Patrick Downes. Illustrated by Scott Magoon. Kensky, who lost both legs after the Boston Marathon bombing, despaired until Rescue, a service dog, arrived to help her navigate life with prosthetics. This sensitively told version- written with her husband, who also lost a leg in the bombing - highlights her relationship with the gallant Rescue. 32 pp. Candlewick. $16.99. Ages 5 to 9. THE DRAGON SLAYER: FOLKTALES FROM LATIN AMERICA Written and illustrated by Jaime Hernandez Hernandez, one of the brothers behind the Love and Rockets comic strip, adapts and updates three Latin American folk tales into a graphic-novel format. The buoyant results will delight all ages. A kitchen maid slays a dragon and marries a prince; a vain woman marries a mouse, with bad results; a boy cast out as lazy proves the logic of his approach. There's also fascinating historical material on the origins of each tale. 48 pp. TOON Books. $16.95. Ages 6 to 12. MARIA RUSSO is the children's books editor of the Book Review.

  Publishers Weekly Review

In this lyrical meditation by Fogliano (When¿s My Birthday?), two children discover an empty, derelict house: ¿Deep in the woods/ is a house/ just a house/ that once was / but now isn¿t/ a home.¿ Smith (Grandpa Green) draws the surrounding forest in bursts of texture and color, but when the children enter the house and wander through the rooms, the color fades and things take on a ghostly dimension. ¿Who was this someone who ate beans for dinner/ who sat by this fire/ who looked in this mirror?¿ Especially spooky are the photographic collage details showing the faces of the home¿s long-ago residents. The moodiness lifts as the guessing grows silly, and Smith¿s spreads switch to richer color, depth, and playful caricature: ¿Was it a man with a big beard and glasses who would look out the window and dream of the sea?¿ Sensitive readers may be put off by the story¿s eerier suggestions (¿Or what if they¿re lost and they¿re wandering lonely?¿), while those who share a fascination with abandoned places will be entranced. Ages 3¿6. Agent: Steven Malk, Writers House. (May)

  School Library Journal Review

PreS-Gr 3-A wizard of wordplay and a maestro of composition combine their considerable talents to explore the notion of home. With a stylistic nod to e.e. cummings and just enough rhyme to propel the pace and please the ear, Fogliano tracks siblings as they approach and enter an abandoned house. Her lines about the dwelling are a study in contrasts. Once it was, but now it isn't a home. The boy and girl notice: "A door that is closed but not quite. A door that is stuck between coming and going. A door that was once painted white." As the children peruse books and objects, they extrapolate conclusions about the owners. Perhaps the man was a sea captain, the woman-a painter. Smith's complex, layered illustrations first depict an impressionistic forest world, rich with a bouquet of deep, dappled colors. (A note on process adds appreciation.) Lighter wildflowers grace the foreground, and a bluebird-a character to watch-transports a worm. Inside the house, it's as if the pages have been bleached; sunlight streaming through roof holes renders possessions transparent. Collage elements, such as a mouse poking through a portrait, add humor. As the imagined inhabitants assume center stage, the oil paintings take on more solidity and definition. While the final sentence reinforces the opening message, a concluding iris shot-with bluebird and babies singing merrily on branches that have invaded the structure-suggests an alternate narrative. VERDICT Stirring to the eye and the spirit, this evocative book repays frequent readings. Perfect for one-on-one sharing.-Wendy Lukehart, District of Columbia Public Library © Copyright 2018. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.
<p> A New York Times Best Illustrated book! <br> A Boston Globe Best Children's Book of 2018 <br> <br> "Accompanied by Lane's evocative art that suggests layers of history, Fogliano's story turns this childhood scenario into a radiant poem about the mysteries of other people and the wonderfulness of home." -- New York Times </p> <p> Deep in the woods <br> is a house <br> just a house <br> that once was <br> but now isn't <br> a home. </p> <p>Who lived in that house? Who walked down its hallways? Why did they leave it, and where did they go?</p> <p>Two children set off to find the answers by piecing together clues found, books left behind, forgotten photos, and discarded toys, creating their own vision of those who came before, in this deeply moving tale of imagination by Ezra Jack Keats Award-winning author Julie Fogliano and Caldecott Award-winning illustrator Lane Smith.</p>
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