Poetry Month 2012 Giveaway: “The House” by J. Patrick Lewis

[heading style=”1″]Poetry Month 2012 Giveaway[/heading]

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.

THE HOUSE by Roberto Innocenti and J. Patrick Lewis

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!

To Enter

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


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  1. I am so looking forward to your interview with J. Patrick Lewis, and what a lovely giveaway. I have long loved and lived by the folloiwng lines by Robert Frost.

    Two roads diverged in a wood, and I—
    I took the one less traveled by,
    And that has made all the difference.

  2. What an incredibly wonderful sounding book!

    Poetry has been a part of my life all my life. My mother and I used to quote poetry to each other so often. One of her favorites, and mine, was The Lake Isle of Innisfree, by William Butler Yeats.

    “I will arise and go now, for always night and day
    I hear lake water lapping with low sounds by the shore,
    While I stand on the roadway, or on the pavements grey,
    I hear it in the deep heart’s core.”

    Poetry speaks to the core deep within my heart.

  3. How did I not know about this book? Gorgeous! My favorite poem is one by Ogden Nash called “The Adventures of Isabel”. It is one I have loved since I was wee. I have fallen out of the habit of reading poetry, but your blog has inspired me to find more poems to share with my guys. Thank you.

    Isabel met an enormous bear,
    Isabel, Isabel, didn’t care.

    The end of this poem is the best. I love Isabel.

  4. One of my favorite poems by Emily Dickinson.

    A Word is dead
    When it is said,
    Some say.
    I say it just
    Begins to live
    That day.

  5. There are so many beautiful lines of poetry that I love. What I love most about poetry is that there is a poem that speaks the truth of every feeling, of every mood, of every human experience….

    It’s been one of those weeks for me, so I’ve had Maya Angelou’s “Still I Rise” resonating in my brain….

    “You may shoot me with your words,
    You may cut me with your eyes,
    You may kill me with your hatefulness,
    But still, like air, I’ll rise.”

  6. Even though I’m allergic to cats I adore the poem MIDNIGHT STRAY by Rebecca Kai Dotlich, especially the last line.

    “just skin and bones and stars above her
    and that is how I came to love her.”

  7. “Be patient toward all that is unsolved in your heart and try to love the questions themselves, like locked rooms and like books that are now written in a very foreign tongue. Do not now seek the answers, which cannot be given you because you would not be able to live them. And the point is, to live everything. Live the questions now. Perhaps you will then gradually, without noticing it, live along some distant day into the answer.”
    — Rainer Maria Rilke

    Some translations are better than others, but this seems close to the one I had copied into my high school notebook – oh so long ago!

  8. Thanks for introducing me to this book!
    I’ve always loved R.L. Stevensons “A Good Play.”

    Also, Jeannie Kirby’s “I Wonder.” Here are two lines from that:
    “Who taught the birds to build a nest,
    And told the trees to take a rest.”

  9. Thank you for this chance, Renee & I’m looking forward to Friday with J. Patrick Lewis. One of my favorite lines is from a poem from Karla Kuskin’s poem “Thoughts That Were Put Into Words”, a goodbye poem. It is “The leftover afternoon light/Slips away/On the wind like a sigh.”.

  10. I always have a hard time with favorites but what comes to mind today is Emily Dickinson…

    Presentiment is that long shadow on the lawn
    Indicative that suns go down;
    The notice to the startled grass
    That darkness is about to pass.

    “The House” is absolutely beautiful. What a lovely giveaway. Thanks, Renée and Patrick.

  11. What a beautiful book!
    My favorite poem is The Road not Taken by Robert Frost
    It ends like this:
    I shall be telling this with a sigh
    Somewhere ages and ages hence:
    Two roads diverged in a wood, and I,
    I took the one less traveled by,
    And that has made all the difference.

    (but you probably knew that already).

    BTW my web site is wordsaremyworld.com – http://www.wordsaremyworld.com – not sure why your blog says it is not a valid URL, it is.

  12. I keep returning to this particular post for some reason. Each time i return, I wonder, “Where is my comment about this book. I remember commenting on the book’s illustrations and the poem? I know I left one.” I look and I never see it. In my mind, I’ve written about the pages in this book. Although, I’ve never read this book. I wish I knew why it seems so familiar. Oh…because I keep visiting this page, looking for my post.

    This was a wonderful read. A great post. Thank you for introducing (or maybe re-introducing?) this book. Can’t think of one line from one poet so, here’s my one line:

    I Know I’ve Been Here Before

    There’s something familial about you__
    I recognize our mark.
    I seem to remember our hallway,
    my fumbling in your dark.

  13. I wandered lonely as a cloud
    that floats on high o’er vale and hill
    When all at once I saw a crowd
    a host of golden daffodils
    Beside the lake, beneath the trees
    fluttering and dancing in the breeze…

    janemaritz at yahoo dot com

  14. What a fun give away! Here’s a favorite line from a favorite poem. Do you recognize it?

    “James, James
    Morrison Morrison,
    Weatherby George Dupree…”

  15. My favorite line is from Mary Oliver’ s poem Summer Day–
    “What is it you plan for your one wild and precious life?”

    this line always reminds me to live in the present and to appreciate the moment/
    I appreciate your posts and love the way you have used the Poetry Month poster to introduce each of your poets this month.
    How are the alligators?

  16. Ohhh here goes:

    “On a golden day, rich in colour all around,
    in wind leaves swirl of yellows, reds and crispy brown.
    Valleys green, dip and then over yonder rises,
    meander along the blue trail, of poetry and surprises.
    We join this bubbly, enthusiastic author,
    a friend, a mate, a delightful place called “No Water River”.

    just my 2cents worth…lol.
    (I assure you I am no poet)
    Loved the book and review thanks Renee.

    1. of course I should have read more carefully… mmm a favourite!! Gosh so many and then there is one I have come to love which I received only a couple of years ago…..
      by Julie Andrews….. “Missing”
      I’ve lost my sense of humor, It fell into a well
      That’s full of dark self-pity, As far as I can tell…..


  17. I have “Last Resort” in Estonian on my bookshelf. ‘The House” in English would be a dream company for it.

    My most favorite lines of poetry are form a beginning of a poem “Aeg” (Time) by Artur Alliksaar

    “Ei ole paremaid, halvemaid aegu.
    On ainult hetk, milles viibime praegu.”

    (loose translation would be that there are no better or worse times, there is the moment that we are in now)

  18. What a lovely lovely looking book. I would love to be entered to win it… Thank you so much.

    “to thrill with all the sweets of life- is living.” Poem called Living by Unknown… 🙂

  19. The woods are lovely, dark and deep.
    But I have promises to keep,
    And miles to go before I sleep,
    And miles to go before I sleep.

    I’ve always liked that (Robert Frost).

    And this one is good:
    ‘The world no longer let me love;
    My hope and Treasure lies above.’
    (by Anne Bradstreet)

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