What You Need to Know:|
• Highlighting nature and the passage of time, this books tells the story of a house and how it survives with and
without the family that occupied it.
• It has the ideal combination of beautiful prose and moving illustrations.
• Ted Kooser, known for his poetry, served as the U.S. Poet Laureate from 2004-2006.
• Jon Klassen illustrated the very funny, I Want My Hat Back.
It is not always easy for young children to make sense of the passage of time. A day can seem like a lifetime to a kindergartener. And asking them to wait a year for something may seem like an eternity. As they read House Held Up by Trees, they have the opportunity to observe the years go by and the changes that take place as they do. In the beginning, they are introduced to a father, his children, and the house where they live. The children are young and playful, the house is pristine, and the father spends his days outside, lovingly caring for his lawn. He works hard to hold off the trees and maintain his perfect yard. As the pages turn, the children grow from small specks hiding in the woods to adults who can no longer fit within the confines of the book, or their small house. They move away, their father grows old, and over time, nature begins to take back this piece of land. As the house sits abandoned and alone, the trees offer it strength and comfort, and it is nature, not humans, that steps in to give it new hope.
The house in this poignant story is a character unto itself, evoking emotion and empathy. It appears content in the beginning, forlorn as time passes and rejuvenated as it is uplifted by the trees. Readers will find themselves connecting to the house which remains constant, as the human characters, whose faces are never seen, move on and away. The eloquent text, clearly the words of a poet, flows beautifully throughout the book. The illustrations play just as much of a role in telling the story. The various angles from which the house can be seen help to define its status over time. Images, like that of a lonely plate in a window, empty chairs, and the father gazing off into the sunset, all tell readers that there is more to this story than we can get from the words on the pages. This picture book will appeal more to older readers and possibly, even more so, to the adults doing the reading. It is the kind of book that can be read again and again as it will inspire new conversation and discussion with each reading.
2012, 32 pages
Aging, Exquisite Illustrations, Extraordinary Language, Family Life, Life Changes, Nature
• Would you like to live in this house? Why or why not?
• Why did the family move away and leave the house?
• Who rescues the house in the end?
• Did you like the ending or would you like to change it? If you could change the ending, how would you rewrite it?
• Where do you think this story takes place?
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