Today’s post is a two-parter.
If you haven’t yet seen the loveliness that is Deborah Freedman’s newest book, This house, once (Atheneum), I hope you’ll find it.
The pencil, pastel, watercolor illustrations are soft and dreamy and so cozy I wanted to live inside each spread. The publisher’s synopsis:
“Deborah Freedman’s masterful new picture book is at once an introduction to the pieces of a house, a cozy story to share and explore, and a dreamy meditation on the magic of our homes and our world.”
Oops. I’ve repeated their “cozy” and “dreamy” adjectives. But those words truly capture what this art/text combination does. The book’s premise sounds so simple – here we have a book that focuses on how various elements of the natural world become part of a house. Yet Ms. Freedman’s text is so lyrical and evocative that it ends up feeling like so much more than that. She does a marvelous job of modeling poetic brevity for the rest of us.
From the first spread, opposite a plain oak door (with a bright red knob!):
“This door was once a colossal oak tree
about three hugs around
and as high as the blue.”
*sigh* I fell in love with the text right there.
A few pages later, we’re shown the same door, now with steps, a stone foundation, bricks leading up along its sides, and this text:
These bricks were once mud
that oozed around roots,
sticky and loose
before formed and baked hard.
And then we get to see a “before” shot of that wonderful mud.
Below is a photo I took of a more practical page. As you can see, this book provides many talking points between parent/teacher and child.
Art and text together? Magic. You’ll want to dive in.
One of our subscribers (Hi, Erica!) asked me about picture book workshops around the country. If you’ve attended any that were particularly helpful/inspiring, could you let the rest of us know what those are and perhaps provide a link? Thanks!