Perfect Picture Book Friday – A House That Once Was

Happy Perfect Picture Book Friday, Everyone!

We will be having cake today. I’ll let you guess why 😊

Please help yourself to seconds and thirds! 😊

Before we get to today’s fabulous book, I’m delighted to announce that the lucky winner of Roxanne Troup’s giveaway of a signed copy of My Grandpa, My Tree, and Me from last week is. . .

. . . Jilanne Hoffman!!!

Congratulations, Jilanne! Please email me and let me know your snail mail address and who you’d like the book signed to so we can get it out to you!

Now, have another slice of cake and get ready for this fantastic book!

Title: A House That Once Was

Written By: Julie Fogliano

Illustrated By: Lane Smith

Publisher: Roaring Brook Press, May 1, 2018, fiction

Suitable For Ages: 3-6 (I think 4-8 would work too)

Themes/Topics: home, change, wondering/imagination

text copyright Julie Fogliano 2018, illustration copyright Lane Smith 2018, Roaring Brook Press

“Deep in the woods
is a house
just a house
that once was
but now isn’t
a home.”

text copyright Julie Fogliano 2018, illustration copyright Lane Smith 2018, Roaring Brook Press

Brief Synopsis: “Two children set off to figure out who abandoned a house and why 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.” [from Amazon description]

text copyright Julie Fogliano 2018, illustration copyright Lane Smith 2018, Roaring Brook Press

text copyright Julie Fogliano 2018, illustration copyright Lane Smith 2018, Roaring Brook Press

Links To Resources: Teaching With Picture Books Activities; Sponge Paint Craft (scroll down)

text copyright Julie Fogliano 2018, illustration copyright Lane Smith 2018, Roaring Brook Press

Why I Like This Book: This is such a wonderfully unusual story! Two children, wandering through the woods, come upon an abandoned house and wonder about its occupants. Who were they? Where did they go? Will the come back? And what about the house? Is it lonely, or does it like the way time has changed it? This is not at all a haunted house story, but a story which is a flight of imagination and an exploration of the concept of what makes a house a home. But the thing I like best about it is the read-aloud rhythm. The language just rocks and rolls – not in the Rolling Stones/Aerosmith/Queen kind of way 😊, but like waves rock a boat and lift it on the swells kind of way. Go back to the opening stanza and read it out loud to yourself just for fun. Isn’t it great? As a reader, or a listener, you can appreciate what a pleasure it is to read aloud. As a writer, you can study it for the fantastic example it is of how to use language in a way that makes it a joy to read aloud and listen to. As writers of picture books, we’re always told to make our stories re-readable, and this one makes you want to read it over and over because of the rhythm of the language. And the art is gorgeous, too, much of it using a kind of sponge paint technique to beautiful effect. The art and the text work together to create a magical experience.

I hope you enjoy it as much as I do 😊

For the complete list of books with resources, please visit Perfect Picture Books.

PPBF folks, please add your titles and post-specific blog links (and any other info you feel like filling out 😊) to the form below so we can all come see what fabulous picture books you’ve chosen to share this week!

Have a wonderful weekend, everyone! 😊

37 thoughts on “Perfect Picture Book Friday – A House That Once Was

  1. palpbkids says:

    Oh boy, this sums up a child’s imagination beautifully!
    Thank you, Susanna, for bringing this to our attention.
    I look forward to getting a copy to read the beautiful stanzas!

  2. jensubra says:

    I picked this up in a bookstore and FELL IN LOVE! All the things you said: the quiet rhythm, the mystery of curiosity, the gorgeous artwork. I think it is classic!

  3. Jilanne Hoffmann says:

    Thank you, Susanna! Yay!!! So excited to win Rxanne’s new book! Thank you! Thank you!

    I love love love A HOUSE THAT ONCE WAS! Julie Fogliano is a superb poet, infusing all of her books with lyricism, whimsy, and a kind of secret sauce that keeps readers coming back for more. I’d also pair it with Sophie Blackall’s FARMHOUSE. I think those two would play well in the same sandbox together.

    • Susanna Leonard Hill says:

      You’re very welcome, Jilanne! You are in for a treat – Roxanne’s book is so terrific!

      And I realized after I posted that you had actually shared this book for PPBF ages ago! So I’m behind the times 😊 But I agree it would go well with FARMHOUSE!

      • Jilanne Hoffmann says:

        I think there’s something to be said for reminding people about great books that aren’t necessarily hot off the presses. You never know who has read or seen what. I know I miss a lot of books that I would never know about until I see someone’s post.

  4. Ellen Warach Leventhal says:

    I love this book! I used it as a mentor text when I was teaching creative writing. I need to get it for myself now.

  5. Patricia Tilton says:

    I remember finding a hut in the woods as a kid and exploring it. We had big imaginations! Really enjoyed your review as you touched on important things to love about this unique story. Will definitely get a copy!

  6. seschipper says:

    This PB certainly seems like a wonderful story! I can’t wait to add it to my collection! Hope you are enjoying your special day with that special Chocolate cake! Happy Birthday! πŸ™‚

  7. marty bellis says:

    I love this book – and anything Julie Fogliano writes! Her text is beautiful and as you point out, so marvelous to read aloud.
    Fantastic cake as well! Looks delish. Cheers for your special day!

  8. CJ Penko says:

    This is one of those picture books that stuck with me over the years. I remember checking it out of the library with a huge stack of probably 100 other PB’s -but this book made me feel like a kid again more than all the others. I adore it. Sometimes I think about it out of the blue. Such a treasure. Thank you for sharing. It truly is a perfect picture book. 🌳🏚️🌳

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