Saturday, July 10, 2010

The House in the Night (Caldecott #3)

Author: Susan Marie Swanson
Illustrator: Beth Krommes
Year Published: 2008
Publisher: Houghton Mifflin
Awards: Caldecott Medal (2009)

What did you like/dislike about the book?
Susan Marie Swanson's book, The House in the Night, is a progressive book that follows a bedtime routine and what is happening in the world at bedtime.  The illustrations are all black and white, with a few details filled in using yellow gold.  The book has a calming feeling about it and would be good as a bedtime story to settle children down.

My favorite detail of the book are the illustrations.  They are very detailed, yet simplistic.  It was interesting to see what the illustrator would highlight on each page and I can see students enjoying that, too.  I also enjoyed the calm voice of this book.  Much like First the Egg, the text did not get in the way of the reader.  

I did not like the sometimes confusing phrases used in the book.  While they were simple, some phrases often seemed too simple.  Complete sentences were not used in this book, which could confuse some readers.

This book is appropriate for early elementary classrooms.  It can be used to help learn the skill of sequencing.

What in your life would have influenced this reaction/response?
This book reminds me of being read to as a child before bedtime.  Books chosen during this time were often quiet and calming, much like this one.  I do not like prose, which may be a reason I did not enjoy the lack of complete sentences.

How does this book compare to similar books/author’s other books?
This book reminds me of Goodnight, Moon and other similar bedtime stories because of its quiet voice.  The author's other stories focus upon realistic themes involving nature and family.

What did I learn about children’s literature from this book?
Text does not have to be in complete sentences to tell a story.  Illustrations can be just as powerful in black and white as in full color, especially when certain aspects are highlighted against a stark backdrop.  Books can be utilized to convey certain moods, depending upon the situation.

Other titles by this author include:

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