Saturday, March 17, 2012

The House on Dirty-Third Street by Jo S. Kittinger and illustrated by Thomas Gonzalez

A young girl and her mother are moving into a new house. Her mom says it's going to be an adventure...but the girl thinks it's more like a disaster! The house is a mess, there's garbage everywhere, and the neighbours don't exactly seem friendly. The girl is ready to give up; even worse, her mom is losing her faith in having the house of her dreams. How can any good come out of this situation?

There's a lovely sense of ambiguity about the set-up of the book. It's not spelled out why the mother and daughter need to move; some ideas that came to my mind were divorce or a finance-based downsizing. Similarly, the little girl isn't given a name, and neither is her mom. By not being too specific, the reader can fill in their own ideas and personalize the story. I also loved the progression of the illustration and how the pictures changed from having a gray, washed out tone to being vibrant and colourful. The illustrations will appeal to kids who like realistic styles (some of the pictures almost look like photographs), but there's also a dreamy, misty quality that's unlike many picture books that I've seen. This could be a good choice for children who are going through changes in their lives and are looking for a bit of reassurance that things can still turn out okay.

Check out Jo S. Kittinger's website for more information about the author and Thomas Gonzalez's website for more information about the illustrator.

I received a review copy from NetGalley courtesy of Peachtree Publishers.

Find it at IndieBound. 

Read it with:
Mooshka: A Quilt Story by Julie Paschkis
14 Cows for America by Carmen Agra Deedy
Rosa's Bus by Jo S. Kittinger

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