The House of Grass and Sky
By Mary Lyn Ray
Illustrated by E. B. Goodale
By Mary Lyn Ray
Illustrated by E. B. Goodale
Category: Children's Picture Books
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An old house takes center stage, waiting for just the right family to move in. . . . Young readers/listeners will appreciate this sweet, compassionate story and be charmed by the notion of a house serving as a protagonist; this tale should spark discussions and generate memories about kids’ own homes. . . . The soft, delicate, airy illustrations, rendered partially in muted watercolors and ink, are atmospheric and suffused with nostalgia and coziness…A reassuring conversation starter about the special connections we feel to our homes.
Long ago, a family built a house in the countryside. . . After a new family moves in and begins making new memories, the house becomes a home once again. . . Goodale contributes lively, impressionistic illustrations created with ink, watercolor, monoprint technique, and digital collage, evocatively depicting the house, some of its residents, the verdant meadow, and the night sky. This appealing picture book offers an imaginative perspective on moving.
Joining a growing shelf of picture books about dwellings that witness generational change, this quiet story by Ray (The Friendship Book) stars an old white saltbox house that has long been occupied by families. . . Lyrical lines that convey a sense of calm linger over the house’s loneliness. . . Most of the book’s attention is on time slowly elapsing, a facet that builds carefully to fulfillment, involving a family of color, that radiates forward and backward in time
The careful, gently lyrical, gently anthropomorphic text makes explicit the kind of emotional investment many children (and adults) place in their homes, and the details of country life are idyllic and inviting. Goodale’s mixed-media art radiates with verdant joy. . . Small details mark different eras, but the cast is credibly multicultural and the people are always more salient than the history. Like Wahl’s The Blue House (BCCB 7/20), this would be a tender preparation for a move to a new house or a farewell to an old one.
—The Bulletin of the Center for Children’s Books
The text is simple but makes readers pause, reflect, and think of their own memories and the places that provided them warmth and shelter. Vibrant but gentle illustrations done in monoprinting, watercolor, and digital collage are mesmerizing as well as tactile. . . . A visual history of a home, full of longing, and a powerful story of hope and reassurance
—School Library Journal
Ray’s quiet, eloquent text serves as a poignant meditation on appreciation: of the things we take for granted, the things we value most, and the things we cannot live without. As the house enjoys life, loss, and renewal, readers experience it, too, through Goodale’s highly expressive, textured, and fluid illustrations, a beautiful mix of monoprinting, ink, watercolor, and digital collage. The house’s longing and sadness are reflected in dark colors, shadows, silhouettes, and the moon; while cheerier hues, nature scenes, and bright sunshine reflect its joy and contentment.
—The Horn Book
This picture book, lovely in tone and illustration, personifies a country house which has seen numerous families come and go over the years. . . . The passing of seasons and of years are shown with soft, luscious illustrations which could tell the story without the words. However, the beautiful, descriptive language is not to be missed. . . . When teaching literary elements, this title could be used even in middle grades as an example of personification and figurative language
—School Library Connection
In E.B. Goodale’s moody illustrations, house and setting retain beauty to match Ray’s words.
—The Arkansas Democrat-Gazette
It is a beautiful book for all ages, well timed for a wild housing market, as Americans pack up and return to their hometowns in droves, as parents reconsider what kind of childhood they want for their kids and empty houses rejoice.
—The Arlington Catholic Herald
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