In Front of My House is a whimsical celebration of a child's imagination and all the places it can travel. This circular story begins and ends in a tidy front yard, but in between takes the reader to mountains and mysterious caves, up to outer space, down into the ocean and beyond. It's a journey as boundless and surprising as young imaginations. Filled with inventive and delightful twists, this charming story reveals a child's fancy taking flight, showing how imaginative play can begin in a place as mundane as a...
In Front of My House is a whimsical celebration of a child's imagination and all the places it can travel. This circular story begins and ends in a tidy front yard, but in between takes the reader to mountains and mysterious caves, up to outer space, down into the ocean and beyond. It's a journey as boundless and surprising as young imaginations. Filled with inventive and delightful twists, this charming story reveals a child's fancy taking flight, showing how imaginative play can begin in a place as mundane as a front yard, reach to the stars, then return back to the same place. Children will recognize a kindred imagination in Marianne Dubuc's joyful illustrations and simple text.
"On a little hill, behind a brown fence, under a big oak tree, is... my house." Dubuc's English-language debut is an extended stream-of-consciousness journey, which winds through varied locales and past numerous animals, objects, and other creatures along the way. The book makes able use of suspenseful page-turns (and ellipses), as the text teases what's to follow ("In front of my house..."). Things start off simply, but Dubuc's sense of humor soon pops up: "Under my bed... Whew! Nothing at all." Accompanying the simple text, which feels as though it were dictated by a child's spur-of-the-moment whimsy, are similarly childlike drawings, set against white backgrounds (or black once the story moves inside a cave, past the Abominable Snowman, and into outer space). The story's unexpected detours are often delightful ("In the Big Bad Wolf's belly... the Three Little Pigs, the house made of bricks... a potful of stone soup, Grandmother and Little Red Riding Hood"). The accessibility of the concept and the artwork may prompt kids to choose their own adventures, so to speak. Ages 3–7. (Sept.)
- Beverley Fahey
A youngster lets his imagination run free as he describes the world outside (and inside) his front door. It begins simply enough with a hill and a fence, a rosebush and a bird. But when his creative mind enters a fairy tale book in his room, princesses and magic frogs give way to a fire-breathing dragon and a scary wolf which leads to a deep dark forest, a cave where vampires and werewolves reign and on to the sun and the planets beyond. As this adventure evolves from the neat borders of home to the farthest reaches of space and the depths of the ocean there are moments of pure inspiration as well as plenty of humorous touches. Such as the contents of the Big Bad Wolf's stomach which include among other things Three Little Pigs, a grandmother, seven little kids and a boy named Peter. A frightening ghost gives way to a vampire suitably drawn upside down with an accompanying inverted text. Many pages take an unexpected turn making this a suspenseful page-turner. Whimsical childlike crayon drawings stand out on the crisp white background. This is a book that certainly is fun for a solitary reader but it would make an excellent writing prompt in a primary classroom. Using this text as a jumping off point children will let their own imaginations soar beyond what is right in front of their house. Reviewer: Beverley Fahey
School Library Journal
Gr 2—In an excursion that starts and ends with a little house on a hill, a child's imagination soars, moving from a rosebush and a bird outside to discover things "behind the window" and "in my room," including a book of fairy tales in which a dragon, a frog prince, and the Big Bad Wolf dwell, as well as the Abominable Snowman, a werewolf, a ghost, and a vampire. Finally, the adventure leads into outer space where sun and stars shine down on a calm ocean and then past zoo creatures and to the tiny house on the hill. While this small picture book is thick, the childlike text is brief—only two lines per spread—one introducing an item, the other prompting a page turn. Its size is perfect for one-on-one interaction, and youngsters will enjoy the twists and turns of the trip as they travel through the slightly scary land of fantastical creatures into surprising finds such as the child's teddy in Babette the Whale's belly or the tiny octopus head at the end of an "enormous tentacle." The illustrations, rendered in pencil crayon, are appropriately simple. They appear first on a white ground, then on black as the journey progresses into a cave and outer space, and then on white again for the return trip. This little gem has everything: text that will keep youngsters guessing as well as making up their own places to explore, and even an opportunity to make sense of those elusive prepositions. Don't miss this journey.—Marianne Saccardi, formerly at Norwalk Community College, CT