cover image In Front of My House

In Front of My House

Marianne Dubuc, trans. from the French by Yvette Ghione, Kids Can, $18.95 (120p) ISBN 978-1-55453-641-2

"On a little hill, behind a brown fence, under a big oak tree, is... my house." Dubuc's English-language debut is an extended stream-of-consciousness journey, which winds through varied locales and past numerous animals, objects, and other creatures along the way. The book makes able use of suspenseful page-turns (and ellipses), as the text teases what's to follow ("In front of my house..."). Things start off simply, but Dubuc's sense of humor soon pops up: "Under my bed... Whew! Nothing at all." Accompanying the simple text, which feels as though it were dictated by a child's spur-of-the-moment whimsy, are similarly childlike drawings, set against white backgrounds (or black once the story moves inside a cave, past the Abominable Snowman, and into outer space). The story's unexpected detours are often delightful ("In the Big Bad Wolf's belly... the Three Little Pigs, the house made of bricks... a potful of stone soup, Grandmother and Little Red Riding Hood"). The accessibility of the concept and the artwork may prompt kids to choose their own adventures, so to speak. Ages 3–7. (Sept.)