From School Library Journal
PreSchool-K–The seasons in the life of a lovely blue country home are the subject of this understated, contemplative work. Lyrical verses begin by describing the house in summer, filled with a lively family. As the days grow shorter, the family departs, leaving it in seeming isolation and quiet. When the seasons pass into fall and then winter, it plays host to a mouse, a stray cat, and a bird. They while away the cold months until spring bursts forth, heralding the approach of summer. When the family returns, there are some new additions, including kittens, fledglings, and a baby, thus reflecting the cycle of birth and renewal brought about by the passage of time. The spare, evocative text serves as an effective counterpoint to the rich, painterly perspectives of the blue house. The only caveat is that this pastoral interlude may have more appeal to adults attracted to the notion of rustic vacation homes than to children.–Rosalyn Pierini, San Luis Obispo City-County Library, CA
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*Starred Review* PreS-Gr. 2. The creators of numerous acclaimed picture books offer another winning title in this deceptively quiet story about a well-loved vacation house. In summer, the rooms burst with life--the crickets sing, laundry floats on the line, and children's voices rise "like dandelion puff." Then fall comes, the people leave, and the empty house is quiet. "Or is it?" Banks' describes the house's secret life through fall, winter, and spring: the faucet drips, snow falls, a bird builds a nest, a cat roams and sleeps. At last, another summer arrives, and new kittens and birds share the house with the returned family. In spare, poetic sentences, Banks' precise sounds and cyclical rhythms amplify the hypnotic sensory impressions, which Banks invites listeners to imagine: "The cat stretches out across the bed and settles into a secret dream. Listen to her purring." Another artist might have chosen subdued grays and purples to depict a house shuttered for winter, but Hallensleben's beautiful, thickly brushed, impressionistic paintings evoke a sense of noise and life in rooms painted shocking blue and rich, bright red. Scenes of rooms glimpsed through half-open doors and of quiet corners extend the words' message that many of life's exciting stories lie in small moments and partial glimpses. A beautifully crafted story filled with wonder. Gillian EngbergCopyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved