cover image We Were Tired of Living in a House

We Were Tired of Living in a House

Liesel Moak Skorpen, Joe Cepeda. Putnam Publishing Group, $16.99 (32pp) ISBN 978-0-399-23016-5

In this lighthearted cumulative romp, three young siblings pack a bag with sweaters, socks, mittens and earmuffs and search out alternative dwellings. They enjoy living in a tree, until they tumble out; on a raft in a pond, until it sinks; and in a sand castle by the sea, until the tide comes in. With each move, the children add another item to their bag: in the end their possessions include ""scarlet leaves and gold/ and a frog who was a particular friend/ and precious stones that caught and held the sun,/ and seashells singing the songs of the surf."" The lilting prose and deft repetition make this a good choice for reading aloud. Cepeda (What a Truly Cool World) wisely plays up the text's silliness, not its visions of the pastoral. Working in a brilliant palette that would suit the contents of a gumball machine, he conjures up such scenarios as one brother hanging upside-down from a tree limb but holding his teacup right-side-up, and the sister, said to be hunting for treasure on the beach, sweeping the sand with a metal detector. Finally, the trio falls into the arms of their waiting parents (pictured only from their shoulders down), cheerfully reminding readers of the virtues of home sweet home. Ages 2-6. (Mar.)