Thursday, June 11, 2009

Second Book: The Little House

First off let me list some quick, but important facts about the book. It was written and illustrated by Virginia Lee Burton. The book was published in 1942 and won a Caldecott Medal. Alright, now on to some specifics!

I have loved this book since I was a child, but I have vague recollections of none of my friends having ever read it and even now when I mention it no one seems to recognize the name. This is a little unsettling to me because this story is such a beautiful one, invoking a simple happiness and flickers of sentimentality.

The premise follows a modest, but sturdy, house through four generations of a family, not always being in their possession. It begins with her being built and the family is shown around her rejoicing, the father stating, "This Little House shall never be sold for gold or silver and she will live to see our great-great-grandchildren's great-great-grandchildren living in her." The days and seasons pass, leading to years, and we see the changes of the family and landscape as they unfold in front of the dear house. Her curiosity of the city eventually ends as the city engulfs her and she becomes forgotten and forlorn. Eventually though one of the great grandchildren passes her on the city street and believes that, "That Little House looks just like the Little House my grandmother lived in when she was a little girl, only that Little House was way out in the country on a hill covered with daisies and apple trees growing around." It is soon learned though that indeed this is the same house and the great grandchild takes it to the country to live a happy life once more.

This story, though it may seem simple, is quite amazing. It propels the reader into a very humanistic view of the effects of time and the emotions that sprout from such an uncontrollable phenomena. In doing this it also gives children an understanding of time, days, seasons, and years. What is more, it also has innocent artwork that fuels the emotions the story helps to create, thus making a multi-layered reading experience. And, while at times I felt so devastated for the house that makes the ending even more wonderful.

I must say, to close, that I cannot really do this book justice. To me it really is an emotive experience and therefore hard to put down in words, but I can say that it is an experience that I love undergoing time and time again.

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