Wednesday, November 26, 2008

The Little House

I've just re-read The Little House by Virginia Le Burton. It won the Caldecott Medal in 1943. This book has been a favorite of mine for years. It tells the story of a little house built way out in the country and the happy years it spends with generations of it's owner's family.

As time passes many changes take place. Horseless carriages appear, roads are built, development springs up around the little house. Eventually it is completely engulfed by a noisy, sooty, thoughtless city. As this happens the facade of the house changes, begins to sag and in the end looks completely heartbroken. One day the great great granddaughter of one of the children who first lived there discovers the house cowering in between two immense skyscrapers. She recognizes it as the house her grandmother once lived in and decides to rescue it. She and her husband make arrangements for the house to be moved ("Traffic was held up for two hours!"). They find the perfect spot to relocate the house back out in the country and then live there with their children.

Burton's illustrations are lovely, warm, intricate and intimate. The facade of the house is truly it's face. When you see it dwarfed by development and progress you want to weep. I love this book very much.

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