Review Blog

Jul 18 2019

Goodbye house, hello house by Margaret Wild

cover image

Illus. by Ann James. Allen and Unwin, 2019. ISBN: 9781743311103.
(Age: 3+) Highly recommended. Themes: Change, Moving house, Families. When the young girl must leave the family farm and move to the city she wanders through the house and its environs saying goodbye as she goes. She reminds herself that this is the last time she will see these familiar things. Children will begin to join in with the refrain, 'this is the last time' as the pages are turned. When moving day comes she says goodbye to each, halting a little longer at her bedroom. Readers will sympathise with the young girl as she says goodbye to things she loves, and recognise the emotional pull of the familiar, the things she has grown up with, perhaps recognising the changes that have occurred in their own lives.
Once in her new house, the words are reversed. She looks into each new room, taking longer over the room which is to be her bedroom, saying, 'this is the first time' as she greets the new, the unfamiliar. Readers again will sympathise with meeting something new for the first time, recognising that change is part of their lives.
Ann James' wonderful illustrations reflect a lively young girl, confidently saying goodbye to her old life and taking on the new with aplomb. Readers will connect with her as she opens each door, greeting the altering circumstances, welcoming the difference in her life, accepting the change. Watercolour illustrations form the background of many pages with black outlines used with eye catching effect over the top. Each time she peers through a door, her black and white image opens onto a watercolour vista of her old life and her new. The first end-paper shows a young girl looking out from her farm verandah with boxes packed and stacked next to her, farewelling the familiar, while the last end-paper shows her sitting in a tree, looking out at the apartment houses nearby, the view full full of possibilities.
A wonderful book about change, of accepting and embracing change is distilled into the images and spare text of a young girl's move to the city, by this pair of award winning book creators.
Fran Knight

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