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Kate Messner


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The Little House PDF Print E-mail

What You Need to Know:
• A classic picture book that is definitely worth having on your bookshelf.
• Beautiful to look at and pleasant to listen to, this story is perfect for all ages.
• The Little House won the Caldecott Medal in 1943.
• It is often used in classroom lesson plans.
Sweet Book Summary:
This sweet, comforting story is just as special today as it was in 1943 when it won the Caldecott Medal. It begins with the Little House sitting solid and content on a quiet hillside in the country. From her perch on the hill, she is able to observe the beauty around her. She sees the children playing, the trees blossoming, even the city off in the distance. The seasons change, and eventually so do the years, but as Burton says “the Little House stayed just the same.” As time (and progress) marches on, the city that she saw in the distance moves closer to the Little House, and in turn so do the noise and the busy people that go along with it. As the world changes around her, the Little House sits old, run-down and abandoned, missing her life in the country where things were quieter and she could watch the seasons pass. She goes unnoticed for a long time, until one day someone (the great-great-granddaughter of the man who built the house) stops in the midst of all the chaos and realizes the value that the Little House still holds. In the end, she is lifted up, physically and metaphorically, and happily moved to a new refuge in the countryside, where she belongs.

Every time I read this story, I’m amazed that it’s about a house and that it’s a 44- page picture book. It expresses such important, timeless concepts like the cycle of life and the double-edged sword of progress. The Little House truly becomes a living character that readers can empathize with and relate to, despite the fact that she never even speaks. We feel her joy at the beauty life brings every day and her pain as time moves on without her, knowing that these emotions are in store for all of us, as we grow old. On a larger scale we understand her inability to keep up with the overwhelming changes that she is confronted with as the years pass. Hopefully this story will continue to help young readers understand the impact that progress has on their world and it will leave them with an appreciation for all things, old and new. The story would also not be complete without the notable illustrations that bring the house to life and enable the words to flow so smoothly from page to page.
Author: Virginia Lee Burton Illustrator: Virginia Lee Burton Published: 1942, 44 pages
Themes: Aging, Award Winners, Compassion/Empathy, Excellent Read-Aloud, Life Changes, Seasons, Urban
Sweet Discussion Questions:
• Does it make you sad or happy when the house gets moved?
• Would you rather live in the city or the country?
• What are some things that have changed or been invented in your life time?
• What new things are happening in your neighborhood every day- leaves changing, new stores, etc.?
• Do you have a place to go that makes you feel quiet and peaceful?
• Would you like to stay in your house forever or would you like to move?
• Is progress or change always a good thing?
If You Liked This Book, Try:
City Dog, Country Frog, Mo Willems
Miss Rumphius, Barbara Cooney
Wilfred Gordon McDonald Partridge, Mem Fox
This recommendation was written by: Melissa G.
Support Independent Book Shops: Click Here to Buy this Book on IndieBound

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