LET'S GO HOME: The Wonderful Things About a House
Cynthia Rylant, , illus. by Wendy Anderson Halperin. . S&S, $16 (32pp) ISBN 978-0-689-82326-8
In an oversize yet cozy-looking picture book, Rylant and Halperin explore the components of a home that could easily serve as a setting for this pair's Cobble Street Cousins series. Rylant quickly gets to the heart of her subject: "No matter the kind of house, it is the living inside that makes it wonderful." From there, she conducts readers onto the front porch, over the threshold and into various rooms. In the living room, "there is usually a big sofa," and maybe a fireplace in front of which "husbands and wives who have been married a long time will… spend the evening reading or sewing or simply being quiet together." The kitchen is "the room that reminds people to look after each other." And bedrooms "shelter us from the world like no other rooms can." While the author speaks thoughtfully and in general terms about the feelings that rooms conjure for many people, the illustrator focuses on one particular multigenerational family and the colorful lives they lead in their comfortably cluttered house. Halperin's watercolors—sometimes featuring multiple snapshot-like scenes of the same room on one page—brim with idiosyncratic details suggestive of the inhabitants' personalities. Even when the text approaches preciousness ("The smell of cookies makes every person as nice as he can be"), the note of welcome sounds clearly. Readers will want to linger here. All ages.
Reviewed on: 04/22/2002