Childhood memories can seem the most distant and unreachable, like the Milkyway. But I have come to learn that with the right memory trigger, like a smell, taste, or sound, a long forgotten memory has a way of filling the mind with clarity. In my case, a childhood memory returned when I opened Deborah Freedman’s picture book, This house, once.
As the different parts came together to make a house in this book, the memory returned when my parents bought a wooded piece of land in the country. I recalled the countless weekends my family drove out to see the building progress. Trucks of different sizes dug a deep, deep hole for the foundation, stacked up stones for sturdy walls, added windows, and doors. I remember playing with my sister around the building site after the trucks drove away. We dug through the sand and earth with our bare hands, searching for dinosaur bones and other treasures, but instead found stones, insects, and frogs. Week after week, we anxiously awaited the day or parents would announce moving day. And then that happy day came. Decades have passed. Another family lives in my childhood home. But the memories are mine to hold.
Title – This house, once
Written and Illustrated by – Deborah Freedman
Published by- Atheneum Books for Young Readers – 2017
Topics – building a house, creating something, nature
Opening – This door was once a colossal oak tree about three hugs around and as high as the blue.
(Is anyone else smiling about the oak tree being about three hugs around?)
Synopsis from Amazon – Deborah Freedman’s masterful new picture book is at once an introduction to the pieces of a house, a cozy story to share and explore, and a dreamy meditation on the magic of our homes and our world.
This poetically simple, thought-provoking, and gorgeously illustrated book invites readers to think about where things come from and what nature provides.
Why do I like this book? I honestly can’t tell you which is more stunning, the text or the illustrations. Deborah Freedman is equally gifted in both the writer’s world and the illustrator’s. I was most taken in by her thoughtfulness in describing each “ingredient” needed to build a house from the door to the stones which were once tucked beneath a blanket of leaves. Each page offers another reason to love this book.
Learn more about Deborah Freedman and her books HERE.
If you have a fond, funny, or otherwise memorable memory about creating or building something from scratch, I would love to hear about it in the comments.
Until next Friday!