A House that Once Was
by Julie Fogliano, illustrated by Lane Smith
Roaring Book Press, 2018
The title promises a trip back in time, a mystery, and that’s exactly what’s delivered in this story poem tale with its mystical, magical illustrations.
We’re invited into an old house and on each page, we learn a few more things about the house, on a hill. All the items of the last owner are still in their place, as told my favorite line:
Who was this someone
who left without packing
someone who’s gone
but is still everywhere?
Two children are the house explorers, but not the main characters. The illustrations feature the main character, the house and all its contents. Readers learn much from a yellow mustard jar, an artist’s palate, and photos on the wall. The author draws us into the story when she wonders who may have lived there, and where they may have gone. After what must have been several hours, the children return home and the illustrations show they returned with a few treasures.
This is the kind of story poem that takes readers to a special place and will entice readers to return into the story’s feeling again and again.