- Age Range: 3 - 6 years
- Grade Level: Preschool - 1
- Lexile Measure: 500 (What's this?)
- Hardcover: 48 pages
- Publisher: Roaring Brook Press (May 1, 2018)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 1626723141
- ISBN-13: 978-1626723146
- Product Dimensions: 8.9 x 0.4 x 10.9 inches
- Shipping Weight: 15.5 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
- Average Customer Review: 15 customer reviews
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #6,791 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
To get the free app, enter your mobile phone number.
Other Sellers on Amazon
+ Free Shipping
+ Free Shipping
A House That Once Was Hardcover – May 1, 2018
|New from||Used from|
Frequently bought together
Customers who bought this item also bought
“Perfectly seamless; words and art are interwoven in a dance that enchants. Inventive and lovely.” ―Kirkus Reviews, starred review
“A timeless feel and an outstanding picture book.” ―Booklist, starred review
“A wizard of wordplay and a maestro of composition combine their considerable talents to explore the notion of home . . . Stirring to the eye and the spirit, this evocative book repays frequent readings.” ―School Library Journal, starred review
“[A] lyrical meditation.” ―Publisher’s Weekly
“Imaginative and colorful.” ―Bulletin of the Center for Children's Books
“[A] rhythmic, read-aloud-perfect tale . . . poetic and visually striking.” ―Horn Book
If You Want to See A Whale:
“Fogliano's words are carved and measured. This is a writer who takes her time, and the leaps she makes with language surprise and thrill.” ―The New York Times
“A gorgeous love song to the imagination . . . It's breathtaking . . . Fans will be waiting.” ―Booklist, starred review
“Readers will gape at the two enormous, whale-sized talents at work in this transfixing picture book.” ―Kirkus Reviews, starred review
And Then It's Spring:
“In an understated and intimate partnership, Fogliano and Stead conjure late winter doldrums and the relief of spring's arrival, well worth the wait.” ―Publishers Weekly, starred review
“Many treasures lie buried within this endearing story, in which humor and anxious anticipation sprout alongside one another.” ―Kirkus Reviews, starred review
“Fogliano's poetic yet grounded narrative is reminiscent of Charlotte Zolotow's picture-book texts in its understatement and straightforward, childlike observations.” ―The Horn Book, starred review
“[Lane Smith's] illustrations, a blend of line drawings and sponge painting, have a classic feel, and make clever use of the topiary theme, rewarding close examination and repeated reading.” ―The New Yorker
“Lush and magical.” ―People
“An unassuming little masterpiece . . . The book's power lies in its rich, allusive artistry.” ―New York Times Book Review
“It's a rare glimpse into Smith's softer side―as skillful as his more sly offerings, but crafted with honesty and heart.” ―Publishers Weekly, starred review
“Visually intriguing and emotionally resonant, this is a book to pore over and talk about.” ―School Library Journal, starred review
“Sketched with a finely lined fairy-tale wispiness and dominated by verdant green, the illustrations are not just creative but poignant.” ―Booklist
About the Author
Julie Fogliano is the New York Times–bestselling author of And Then It’s Spring and If You Want to See a Whale, as well as the poetry collection, When Green Becomes Tomatoes. Recipient of the 2013 Ezra Jack Keats Award, her books have been translated into more than ten languages. Julie lives in the Hudson Valley with her husband and three children. When she is not folding laundry or wondering what to make for dinner, she is staring out the window waiting for a book idea to fly by.
Lane Smith is the author and illustrator of Caldecott Honor book Grandpa Green, runaway New York Times bestseller It's a Book, Kate Greenaway Medalist There Is a Tribe of Kids, and A Perfect Day, among others. He was named the 2012 Carle Artist and received the 2014 Society of Illustrators lifetime achievement award. He lives in an old house in Connecticut with the designer Molly Leach.
Try the Kindle edition and experience these great reading features:
Showing 1-6 of 15 reviews
There was a problem filtering reviews right now. Please try again later.
A walk in the woods takes two children to a house that can no longer be called a home. Windows are boarded up, it slants slightly to one side, and an oddly cheery whale-themed weathervane perches on the roof. Apprehensive at first, the two kids approach with caution, and then enter. There they find the remnants of a life. Books and old toys and a bed “still made”. Old photos. Broken frames. Together they imagine the people that might have lived behind these walls. People with dreams and talents and hopes. Are they okay? Are they happy? They are gone but the house is still here, but whether it’s waiting or content with its lot we can never know. So the kids go back to their own house, not yet mysterious, leaving behind “a house that once was but now isn’t a home.”
Ms. Fogliano is a difficult woman to pin down. In many ways, she is one of our most accomplished picture book writers working today. I say that, but you won’t find her name plastered all over Times Square or bandied about the pages of The New York Times. Because her specialty is concentrated, contemplative quiet, by the very nature of her style she is doomed to dwell under the radar. I suspect that this may suit her. And I also suspect that if she keeps cranking out books as good as this one then that quiet beauty she’s so cornered the market on may become downright fashionable. In A House That Once Was I felt the tug of so many other picture books lurking just beneath the text. Consider the last sentences in the book. “Back to a house where our dinner is waiting. Back to a home that is cozy and warm. Deep in the woods is a house just a house that once was but now isn’t a home.” I don’t know about you but I felt hints of This Is the House That Jack Built, Bringing the Rain to Kapiti Plain, and the ending of Where the Wild Things Are in those sentences.
Look too at how Fogliano’s books beg to be read aloud. Her magnum opus (until now) was the poetry book When Green Becomes Tomatoes, a book too easily forgotten for all the beauty it was capable of conjuring. That book was a readaloud dream. In this title Fogliano put her lines in the form of a poem with natural breaks, soft rhymes, and hard rhymes too. Here’s one example:
“At the top of a hill
sits the house
that is leaning.
A house that once wasn’t
but now it is peeling.
A house that was once
Fogliano is going so far as to tackle the idea of nothingness and not being, a heady concept for a picture book. When the children enter the home, for example, the text says, “We whisper though no one would mind if we didn’t. / The someone who once was / is someone who isn’t. / The someone who once was / is gone.” Paging, Emily Dickinson, anyone?
A child hasn’t been alive very long. Anything that happened before they were born is ancient history. We mark our lives in what we’ve experienced, and even in what existed on earth since the beginning of our own existences. We’re a little self-absorbed that way. But kids are also natural detectives. They’re constantly reimagining the world around them in their own images. And if they were raised right and strong and true, then they’re using stories to make sense of what they see. We all do that. Kids just happen to be better at it sometimes.
You would not be out of line saying that the imagination of a child can be sharper and clearer to them than the reality all around. I was thinking along those lines when, after a second or third read, I finally noticed that artist Lane Smith has two very distinctive and very different art styles going on within these pages. He says as much on the publication page where it reads, “The illustrations in this book were done in two different techniques. The ‘present day’ illustrations were made with India ink, drawn on vellum with a crow quill pen, then pressed while wet onto watercolor paper creating a blotted line effect. The colors were painted in oil over gesso then scanned and added digitally under the ink-line. The ‘imagined’ scenes were painted in oil paint on hot press board and scanned along with paper collage elements that were combined digitally.” Phew! The end result is extraordinary. When the kids imagine the house’s inhabitants, who they were, and where they might be now, the book takes on a crispness and a clarity of a sort. There’s still a great deal of texture, but people and objects escape the impressionistic splotches of paint that pulsate around them. Compare that to the kids that have entered the house with all their wonderings firmly in place. The colors at work, while beautiful, are muted. The lines appear and disappear in fits and starts. The kids themselves, the ones telling this story, they are the ones that look like they’re just a sneeze away from fading into the walls that surround them. Only their dreams feel substantial.
And yes. There are bound to be irate parents that read this book and bristle at the idea of two kids exploring abandoned homes on their own (scenes from The Florida Project come immediately to mind). They’ll read through this book and they won’t see the brilliant red bushes of the endpapers, the family of bluebirds that crop up throughout the story, or the tamed elegance in the swoop of a sea captain’s hair. They won’t hear Fogliano’s rhymes, almost hidden between page turns, or watch the font change color as the book progresses. They will see one thing: Kids crawling through windows into abandoned houses. But this book is as much a fantasy as anything else. Admit it, grown-ups. If the universe provided for you an opportunity for full-fledged snooping, devoid of fear or consequence, you’d hoist yourself up on that windowsill too. I can’t read this book and not want to keep peeling its layers off of it like an onion, but if I do that I won’t have anything left. So for all those children out there that never even imagined that exploring an abandoned home was an option yet feel the pull of hidden histories they are still incapable of understanding, let them experience the sheer beauty and mystery embedded in Fogliano and Smith’s latest. This is a house that is waiting for them.
For ages 4-7.
A house that once was pairs Fogliano with Caldecott Award–winning illustrator Lane Smith to create an enchanting and unforgettable story about a boy and a girl who discover an abandoned house.
Entering through "a window that's watching ... a window that says climb inside," they explore the house's contents and imagine answers to questions like Who lived here? Why did they leave? and Where did they go?
When you have a spare minute, you should definitely read Elizabeth Bird's thorough and glowing review at School Library Journal. More briefly, Kirkus describes a house that once was as "perfectly seamless; words and art are interwoven in a dance that enchants. Inventive and lovely."
That, it is. Fogliano’s free-flowing stream of text wanders in and out of contemplation, levity, rhythm and rhyme, blending beautifully with Lane Smith's illustrations that drift in and out of three artistically-defined worlds—a colorful reality, a ghostly dimension, and a richer, more vibrant world of imagination.
The result is captivating, timeless, stunning, and thought-provoking. And if you're wondering what the thread is that holds it all together... that's right! It's wonder. Wonder and curiosity—qualities that are characteristic of all great artists and poets, whether you choose to describe yourself as one or not.
Be sure to visit the book's website for more art than what is featured in today's interview and to download a fun activity kit.
I like how this story is told. Using rhyme, a boy and girl discover the mystery house and its contents. They make inferences on each page based on what they see. The illustrations are wonderful and use a variety of mediums. It really is a children’s book worth checking out.
“Inside the house
it is silent but creaking.
We’re whispering mostly
but not really speaking.
We whisper though no one would mind if we didn’t.
The someone who once was
is someone who isn’t.
The someone who once was
Webpage with some of the photographs of the book: check out macmillan webpage for some great pictures of the book