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  • Tony

A House That Once Was by Julie Fogliano & Lane Smith

When I was young I knew of an old lodge in the woods near the river where we lived. My brothers and I often wondered who had lived there and if any ghosts appeared after dark.

Perhaps that is what draws me to this book, with its wonderings and what ifs, its gentle cadences that seem to hang in mid-air, and the crackled, overgrown, insectified and patinated illustrations of Smith, who can add some wabi-sabi to anything he touches.

In this evocative and richly-layered book we follow two children through the woods, and so it begins...

Deep in the woods

is a house

just a house

That once was

but now isn't

a home.

Try this - read it aloud for extra pleasure...

Inside the house

it is silent but creaking.

We're whispering mostly

but not really speaking.

We whisper though no one would mind if we didn't.

The someone who once was

is someone who isn't.

The someone who once was

is gone.

This would make a beautiful book to feed the imagination and wonder about lives past during the long months of summer.

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