cover image The House of Grass and Sky

The House of Grass and Sky

Mary Lyn Ray, illus. by E.B. Goodale. Candlewick, $17.99 (32p) ISBN 978-1-5362-0097-3

Joining a growing shelf of picture books about dwellings that witness generational change, this quiet story by Ray (The Friendship Book) stars an old white saltbox house that has long been occupied by families. In monoprinting, ink, watercolor, and collage, Goodale (Under the Lilacs) creates its builders, a white turn-of-the-century family with children and a black-and-white sheepdog, and offers snapshots of later occupants from whom “the house learned about babies being born and babies growing up... about bedtime stories and birthday parties.” Now, though, the house stands empty. Suspense builds as families come to look, then leave. Lyrical lines that convey a sense of calm linger over the house’s loneliness; paint peels, and ghostly silhouettes of imagined children run over the lawn. Feathery spreads full of changing grass and leaves reflect the home’s consciousness of seasonal change: “The house welcomed back the green time and every green smell, too.” Most of the book’s attention is on time slowly elapsing, a facet that builds carefully to fulfillment, involving a family of color, that radiates forward and backward in time. Ages 4–8. [em]Author’s agent: Rick Margolis, Rising Bear Literary. Illustrator’s agent: Lori Kilkelly, Rodeen Literary. (Apr.) [/em]