Do you wonder what stories might echo through the walls of that old, abandoned house in your neighborhood? Or what stories your own home will tell long after you are gone? That is exactly what Caldecott medalist Sophie Blackall imagined when she walked through a tumble-down house on an old farm she had just purchased. The house was beyond repair, but Blackall felt a need to honor the generations who had called it home before her.
Blackall spent hours collecting bits and pieces from the house: dresses molded through time, wallpaper and news clippings, a bird’s nest, a handkerchief, and a seashell button. They all find their way into this beautiful picture book called Farmhouse. The detailed illustrations and simple story are a window into the daily life of the Swantak family, a mother and father and their 12 children who lived in New York State a century ago. Readers will enjoy the gentle, slightly off rhythm of the text that tells about siblings jostling together, doing chores, gathering for breakfast and dinner and readying for bed. The details carry seamlessly from one page to the next. Blackalls’ photos fill the end papers, a perfect eye-spy for the pages of the book.
Blackall has created another work worthy of a Caldecott. A book to be savored over and over again. Ages 4-10. (Little, Brown and Company)