cover image This Old House

This Old House

Karen Ackerman. Atheneum Books, $14.95 (1pp) ISBN 978-0-689-31741-5

There's more to an abandoned house than meets the eye in this slight picture book: wild creatures from the surrounding yard have made the rundown dwelling their own. Mice scurry on the floor, spiders spin webs in the cabinets and kittens nap beneath a chair--until the day when a new family might move in. Ackerman's ( Song and Dance Man ) text amounts to little more than a list of critter sightings arranged in couplets. Disappointingly, her meter and vocabulary seem to suffer at times for the sake of rhyme. Wickstrom's ( Armadillo ) cuddly watercolors provide an appropriately snug setting for the text, but their similarity in hue and composition becomes tiresome. This is one old house that regrettably yields few treasures. Ages 4-6. (Sept.)