Homegrown House

Overview

It takes time to settle into a house, to learn to love it right, to make it feel homegrown. After the boxes are unpacked and the books are shelved (alphabetically), all a young girl wants to do is settle into her house. Grandmom says that it takes time to learn to love a house right, and this young girl is determined for hers to become homegrown. E. B. Lewis’s warm, familial scenes pair with Janet S. Wong’s yearning text for an intergenerational story of wishes, dreams, and a ...

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Overview

It takes time to settle into a house, to learn to love it right, to make it feel homegrown. After the boxes are unpacked and the books are shelved (alphabetically), all a young girl wants to do is settle into her house. Grandmom says that it takes time to learn to love a house right, and this young girl is determined for hers to become homegrown. E. B. Lewis’s warm, familial scenes pair with Janet S. Wong’s yearning text for an intergenerational story of wishes, dreams, and a true sense of home.

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Editorial Reviews

Children's Literature - Jean Boreen
This is an absolutely wonderful book about a girl who wants to have the kind of "homegrown" house her grandmother has. While her parents are busy looking for new houses or special features that will be connected to the house, the narrator, an eight-year-old girl with a very wise grandmother, focuses on the smaller things that make a house a home: "Bunches of dried lavender hanging upside down/from the ceiling of my bedroom,/which will be painted five different colors/including rainbow tie-dye." Grandma also has a number of wise and humorous comments to make throughout the text: "takes time/to settle into a house,/to learn to love it right,/to make it feel homegrown./Thirty years should do it." The illustrations for the text are rendered in watercolors and really capture the detail found within the text. This is a wonderful book for kids, especially when they are visiting those fabulous grandparents who emulate the wise woman found in this book. Reviewer: Jean Boreen, Ph.D.
School Library Journal
Gr 1-4–In this narrative poem packaged as a picture book, the eight-year-old narrator ruminates about her life, describing the various houses that she has lived in. Her family is about to move to a fourth one, and she is not happy. Wong balances the girl’s reluctance with her grandmother’s humorous realism and artfully weaves both voices into the narration. Whereas her parents are busy envisioning their new dream house, the child yearns for the familiar: waking up to hash browns, waffles, and a chocolate shake at Grandmom’s. Finally, motivated by her grandmother’s assertion that, “It takes time time/to settle into a house/to learn to love it right/to make it feel homegrown,” she stitches together memories of her grandmother’s house to create a vision of her own ideal abode and accepts the idea of moving. Lewis’s watercolors are exquisite when depicting nature, and are warm in tone, but in the end, uneven. In fact, the layout on one page is quite confusing as it combines small paintings detailing unsavory aspects of houses they see on their “House Hunt Sundays” with the divergent, crowning description of beloved Grandmom’s house, without any kind of visual or typographic transition. Helpful for kids who move a lot, this is a solid example of descriptive writing. Unfortunately, the overall feel of the book is sugary.–Sara Paulson-Yarovoy, American Sign Language and English Lower School PS 347, New York City
Kirkus Reviews
A young girl frets about moving to a new house while yearning for a "homegrown" house like her grandmother's. In contrast to Grandmom, who's lived in the same house with its yellow kitchen, moss-green bedrooms, closets full of surprises and freezer packed with Popsicles and pizza for 40 years, the girl has lived in three different houses in eight years. Just when the splinters had worn down on her jungle gym, the fir trees had grown tall enough to hide her and she's made five best friends, her parents decided to move again and again-and now again. So this time the girl borrows ideas from Grandmom's old house to make the new house feel "homegrown." As she narrates, the girl transitions from resentment and frustration to acceptance and optimism, gradually coming to terms with the latest move. Lewis's luminous, realistic watercolors brilliantly utilize light and perspective to reveal her changing moods and her warm relationship with her grandmother as well as views of the houses in her life. Kids anticipating or recovering from moving should feel right at home. (Picture book. 4-8)
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780689847189
  • Publisher: Margaret K. McElderry Books
  • Publication date: 5/19/2009
  • Pages: 40
  • Sales rank: 790,847
  • Age range: 4 - 8 Years
  • Product dimensions: 9.30 (w) x 11.20 (h) x 0.50 (d)

Meet the Author

Janet S. Wong is the author of several picture books, including Alex and the Wednesday Chess Club, illustrated by Stacey Schuett. She lives in New Jersey, and you can visit her online at janetwong.com. E. B. Lewis has received such awards as the Caldecott Honor for Coming On Home Soon by Jacqueline Woodson. He lives in New Jersey and can be visited online at eblewis.com.

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