The Blue House

Knopf. Aug. 2020. 40p. Tr $17.99. ISBN 9781984893369.
K-Gr 3–Leo and his father live in an old blue house. It has peeling paint, “leaks and creaks,” and the heater breaks on snowy days, but it’s their home and they manage by baking pies and dancing to keep themselves warm. Gentrification comes to their neighborhood, and eventually the landlord calls to tell them the house has been sold and will be torn down. Leo and his dad pack and move to a new house, where they find a way to celebrate the memory of their old blue house. Wahl’s illustrations render the scenes with loving specificity, while the cover pays homage to Virginia Lee Burton’s classic The Little House. The passage of time can be followed in the details, with “For Sale” signs giving way to a “Sold” sign next door on the very first page. While nothing in the text points out that the family isn’t wealthy, as soon as readers see the leaky roof and the use of the oven to keep warm, they’ll know the story. Hand-lettered text adds to the richness of the detailed illustrations.This powerfully relevant, moving portrayal of a loving single-parent family during a period of unexpected change and transition is a must-have for any collection.
VERDICT With loving details that radiate off the page, exquisite pacing, and a child’s perspective on the bad thing that is happening, this is recommended to share widely, and with anyone who has ever had to move.

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