Farmhouse by Sophie Blackall 

Published by Little, Brown Books for Young Readers

Summary:  The story of a farmhouse and the family of 14 that lived there is told in one long rhyming sentence.  Starting in the front hallway, the action seamlessly transitions to the parlor (the “serious room”), the attic bedroom where all 12 kids sleep and dream, the barn with its prize-winning cows, the fields, and then back to the kitchen and dining room.  Things wrap up back in the front hall where the youngest child, now an old woman, waits for her sister to pick her up to “drive to the sea, which they’d always wanted to see.”  The farmhouse, now abandoned, settles and is taken over by animals and weather until Sophie discovers it, finding objects that spark her imagination and lead her to the creation of this book.  Includes an author’s note about her discovery of the farmhouse and creation of the illustrations. 48 pages; ages 4-104.

Pros:  There’s been a fair amount of buzz around this book, and I am here to tell you that it’s all true.  I got kind of emotional at the end, appreciating the circle of life that took place in this old farmhouse, and the way it inspired the creation of a beautiful work of art.  The note at the end made me go back and marvel at the details and layers of each illustration. To not consider this for a Caldecott would be a crime against the literary establishment.

Cons:  If you’re trying to teach kids not to write in run-on sentences, you may need to look elsewhere for a mentor text.

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