House Held Up by Trees by Ted Kooser, Jon Klassen |, Hardcover | Barnes & Noble
House Held Up by Trees
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House Held Up by Trees

4.0 1
by Ted Kooser, Jon Klassen
     
 

From Pulitzer Prize-winning poet Ted Kooser and rising talent Jon Klassen comes a poignant tale of loss, change, and nature's quiet triumph.

When the house was new, not a single tree remained on its perfect lawn to give shade from the sun. The children in the house trailed the scent of wild trees to neighboring lots, where thick bushes offered up secret

Overview

From Pulitzer Prize-winning poet Ted Kooser and rising talent Jon Klassen comes a poignant tale of loss, change, and nature's quiet triumph.

When the house was new, not a single tree remained on its perfect lawn to give shade from the sun. The children in the house trailed the scent of wild trees to neighboring lots, where thick bushes offered up secret places to play. When the children grew up and moved away, their father, alone in the house, continued his battle against blowing seeds, plucking out sprouting trees. Until one day the father, too, moved away, and as the empty house began its decline, the trees began their approach. At once wistful and exhilarating, this lovely, lyrical story evokes the inexorable passage of time — and the awe-inspiring power of nature to lift us up.

Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
Though there’s a family involved, the real star of this multilayered modern parable is a plot of land...the artwork initially functions as stoic background for the story, with wide-angle perspectives filled with plenty of open space and muted colors. But in the second part, as the trees take over, Klassen’s compositions command more and more attention, elbowing the text into the periphery and subtly reinforcing the themes in play... Unfolding with uncommon grace, the environmental heart of this story is revealed obliquely but powerfully.
—Booklist (starred review)

The former poet laureate Ted Kooser’s HOUSE HELD UP BY TREES is a lyric, poetic story, stark but also imbued with a haunting beauty…Jon Klassen’s illustrations are quiet, delicate and nuanced, amplifying the text in fresh, original ways through the use of unexpected angles and perspective.
—The New York Times

Poignant and lovely.
—Kirkus Reviews

Children's Literature - Heidi Hauser Green
"That's a very sad book," my six-year-old reader admonished me as I picked up this book. Her four-year-old brother had tears in his eyes. They had eagerly opened the package when it came in the mail, but were stopped flat-footed by the emotion this volume inspired. The story is sparse. A new house is inhabited by a family of three. The father keeps his lawn impeccable; the boy and girl children are drawn to the wild trees that remain on either side of their lot. Time passes and soon the children are grown and gone. The father continues living in the home, maintaining the lawn, until he feels it has become too much for him. Then, he puts the house on the market and leaves, trading in his isolated house for a city apartment. More time passes, and his return visits become fewer and fewer until they stop. The uninhabited house is soon overrun by the wilds of the woods on either side. Trees grow and push the house off its foundation. Soon, it is suspended in the trees. Life goes on, and nature is powerful. It's hard to say if my child readers were more unsettled by the storyline or Klassen's accompanying gouache and digital illustrations. Characters' faces are seldom seen and, when they are seen, are bereft of detail. The characters seem remote and statically-drawn. Their absence is signified by the father's empty folding chair, which remains in the yard after he has gone. This book seems to have more appeal for adult readers, who may better understand the cycle of life and growth, the family changes that occur over time. Child readers may need some explanation, and even some comforting. Reviewer: Heidi Hauser Green
School Library Journal
S. poet laureate Kooser is paired with ethereal illustrations to tell the story of a house and the family who once lived there. A man raises his daughter and son in a little house surrounded by lawn, which he keeps mowed and totally devoid of trees. But on each side, luxurious woods flourish, luring the children to explore the mysteries of nature. When they grow up and leave home, and the father becomes too old to care for the property, he moves to the city, abandoning the house, which no one wants to buy. As it falls into ruin, the seeds and pods so long squelched by the man's mowing begin to sprout and grow, some so close around the walls of the house that they keep it from falling down. Eventually they lift it off its foundation and raise it high above the ground "like a tree house...a house held together by the strength of trees...." A palette of muted browns, grays, and greens predominates in illustrations where the little white house and two iconic folding chairs out front suggest a subtext of loneliness and loss, even as strong verticals and occasional splashes of red lend a sense of hope. Varies perspectives provide strong visual interest and should keep older readers engaged in a story brimming with sadness and a touch of wonder and promise.—Marie Orlando, formerly at Suffolk Cooperative Library System, Bellport, NY
Elizabeth Spires
…a lyric, poetic story, stark but also imbued with a haunting beauty. One could easily imagine the tale, in a slightly different form, as a Kooser poem for adults…Klassen's illustrations are quiet, delicate and nuanced, amplifying the text in fresh, original ways through the use of unexpected angles and perspective.
—The New York Times Book Review

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780763651077
Publisher:
Candlewick Press
Publication date:
03/27/2012
Pages:
32
Sales rank:
238,178
Product dimensions:
10.70(w) x 9.10(h) x 0.60(d)
Age Range:
4 - 9 Years

Meet the Author

Ted Kooser, the United States Poet Laureate from 2004 to 2006, was awarded a Pulitzer Prize for his book of poems Delights & Shadows. He is the author of twelve full-length volumes of poetry and several books of nonfiction, and his work has appeared in many periodicals. Bag in the Wind, illustrated by Barry Root, was his first picture book. Ted Kooser lives in Garland, Nebraska.

Jon Klassen is the author-illustrator of I Want My Hat Back. The first picture book he illustrated, Cats’ Night Out by Caroline Stutson, won the Governor General's Award for illustration in his native Canada. Jon Klassen now lives in Los Angeles.

Brief Biography

Hometown:
Garland, Nebraska
Date of Birth:
1939
Place of Birth:
Ames, Iowa
Education:
B.S., Iowa State University, 1962; M.A., University of Nebraska, 1968

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House Held Up by Trees 4 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 1 reviews.
KrisNArciaga 8 months ago
Ted Kooser’s House Held Up by Trees, illustrated by Jon Klassen, is a visually beautiful children’s book. Yet, the text of the book left me wondering if the story was really completed. This book isn’t something I would recommend for children to read independently due to its sometimes difficult syntax and the sometimes awkward flow of the text, but it is a great book for parents to read to pre-school and early elementary aged children. At a solid 4 out of 5 stars, this picture book tells the story of a house slowly being reclaimed by the trees and about the life of the family who once lived there. Klassen’s illustrations really bring this story alive. Still, I was left wondering what message Kooser meant to send with this book. Then again, maybe he meant to leave the theme ambiguous and open to interpretation. Overall, this really is a beautiful book, just practice reading it to yourself a couple times before you read it to your kids.