Soft House

Overview

Jane Yolen's charming, universal tale about keeping boredom at bay on a rainy day is paired with richly detailed illustrations by Wendy Anderson Halperin.

It's raining, and Davey and Alison Isabelle are bored. They don't want to play checkers. They don't want to play school. They don't want to read books. And they're starting to get on each other's nerves. "I know," says Davey brightly. "Let's play Soft House." Together, after some serious scrounging and with the supervision of ...

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Overview

Jane Yolen's charming, universal tale about keeping boredom at bay on a rainy day is paired with richly detailed illustrations by Wendy Anderson Halperin.

It's raining, and Davey and Alison Isabelle are bored. They don't want to play checkers. They don't want to play school. They don't want to read books. And they're starting to get on each other's nerves. "I know," says Davey brightly. "Let's play Soft House." Together, after some serious scrounging and with the supervision of Mr. Cat, the siblings prove that a wall of cushions, an awning of blankets, a strategically placed flash-light, and a plateful of cookies can create the perfect setting for letting their imaginations soar.

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
Gentle rhythms give Yolen's rainy-day tale the feel of a narrative poem. "It's raining," begins Alison Isabelle. "I watch the drops slide down the window,/ leaving trails for my fingers to follow." Stuck inside, big sister and little brother struggle with boredom. They don't want to play checkers, pretend school or read; instead, they bicker-until Davey says, "I know.... Let's play Soft House." Alison Isabelle, who created the game, agrees. They rearrange furniture and cushions, and spread blankets on top, thus creating a cozy fort. In what has become her signature composition, Halperin (Sophie and Rose) arranges inset boxes that chronicle steps to constructing the house or events within it (reading, flashlight games, blocks and checkers). Frames border full-bleed images that incorporate a multitude of patterns on quilts, rugs and clothing. The story provides an authentic portrayal of sibling dynamics ranging from pressure to gain one's way to thoughtful and caring once the two make peace, and ultimately offers a visual and lyrical ode to the value of creative, collaborative play. Ages 4-7. (Oct.) Copyright 2005 Reed Business Information.
Kirkus Reviews
Who better to illustrate a tale with this title than Halperin? Furthermore, Yolen tells it as sweet as summer rain, and as directly, in this beguiling package. A small boy and his older sister are out of sorts on a rainy day. Alison Isabelle suggests Davey's favorite game, to build a nest of pillows and blankets they call Soft House. But Alison hates to go up the dark stairway alone to fetch supplies. Davey takes Mr. Cat and makes the trip, even though Alison has to go after them when they take too long. So they make the house, with a flashlight for illumination and a plate of cookies from Mama. Halperin plays her usual beautiful game of pretty pattern and gentle but never wimpy color: sometimes in full-spread, beautifully detailed pencil and watercolor, sometimes in multiple panels like graphic novels or altarpieces. Not only excellent for sharing such a construction with a whole reading audience, but for its sly lesson about how "you can't be scared when you have a little brother to take care of." (Picture book. 4-8)
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780763616977
  • Publisher: Candlewick Press
  • Publication date: 8/9/2005
  • Pages: 32
  • Age range: 4 - 8 Years
  • Lexile: 340L (what's this?)
  • Product dimensions: 8.65 (w) x 11.43 (h) x 0.38 (d)

Meet the Author

Jane Yolen is the author of more than 250 books for children and young adults, including the Caldecott Medal-winning OWL MOON, illustrated by John Schoenherr, and the NEW YORK TIMES best-selling HOW DO DINOSAURS SAY GOOD NIGHT? and its sequels, illustrated by Mark Teague. With her husband, Jane Yolen lives half the year in Massachusetts and half the year in Scotland.

Wendy Anderson Halperin has illustrated many well-regarded picture books, including SOPHIE AND ROSE by Kathryn Lasky, HUNTING THE WHITE COW by Tres Seymour, and LOVE IS . . . with text adapted from 1 Corinthians 13.

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