If you’ve been following the Poetry Month activities at No Water River, you probably already know that Children’s Poet Laureate J. Patrick Lewis will be joining me here on April 30 with a ridiculously charming video poem and interview. So in honor of his visit, I thought it would be nice to give away one of his many books of verse.
When I asked Pat which of his books he thought would make the best giveaway, he didn’t hesitate to name The House, an exquisitely beautiful book published by Creative Editions and featuring the incomparable art of Roberto Innocenti, winner of the 2008 Hans Christian Andersen Award.
In the case of this oversized picture book, the illustrations came first, and then Pat was asked to provide the poem in what would be his second collaboration with Innocenti (after The Last Resort in 2002). Pat tells the story in quatrains, one per page facing a small illustration, then followed by a wordless and detailed two-page spread of Innocenti’s artwork. What’s really unique about this book is that the perspective of each illustration is always the same, but we see the changes in the house, surroundings, and people over a span of one hundred years. During this time, we are privy to all the happenings in the house, and the house’s thoughts about them, from birth, marriage, and death to war, harvests, and hippies.
Midsummer’s dress is maid-of-honor green.
The hill girl takes her future by the hand–
A mason-soldier from the bottomland.
Life holds its breath when weddings intervene.
From wife to widow…and the depths of grief.
My furnace burns as children leave for school,
Bundled in virtue, books, and classroom fuel.
How beautiful their innocence, how brief.”
Excerpts from The House copyright © 2009 by J. Patrick Lewis. Illustrations © 2009 by Roberto Innocenti. All rights reserved.
From School Library Journal: “The walls in a stone farmhouse literally talk in this first-person narrative that deals with the ravages of time and their effects on the structure and its inhabitants. After a brief history, the house (constructed in 1656, “a plague year”) fast forwards to the dawn of the 20th century, when children discover its ruins. The viewer’s perspective is fixed, but the light, weather conditions, and human interventions create fresh worlds on each page. Adults will connect to the sentiments, while children will pore over Innocenti’s marvelously detailed spreads, composed in an oversize, vertical format and set in an Italian hill town.”
What a gorgeous book to add to your library!
Leave a comment on this post that includes a favorite line from any poem under the sun — or write your own poetic tidbit!
If you also decide to Like No Water River on Facebook, that would be lovely, but not necessary to enter the giveaway.
This giveaway runs until midnight EST on April 29. The winner will be chosen at random and announced on Pat’s post on April 30.
[heading style=”1″]Coming Up Next![/heading]
will keep our Friday the 13th bright and gay!
Here’s the whole schedule:
April 2 ~ Kenn Nesbitt
April 6 ~ Amy Ludwig VanDerwater
April 9 ~ Laura Purdie Salas
April 13 ~ Deborah Diesen
April 16 ~ Greg Pincus
April 18 ~ Charles Waters
April 20 ~ Irene Latham
April 23 ~ Julie Larios
April 27 ~ Lee Wardlaw
April 30 ~ J. Patrick Lewis