Goodbye, Old House by Margaret Wild, illustrated by Ann James (9781736226452)
A child knows they are moving, so proceeds to say goodbye to their old home. It’s the last time they will fish in the river, the last time to run through the trees, the last time to pet this pony. It’s the last time to lay by this fire, the last time to sleep in this house. They say goodbye to each room from the hall, leaving a message for the new owners on the wall. Then it’s time for a lot of first moments. The first time to jump over these cracks, the first time to push open the gate, and the first time entering the new house. They say hello to all of the new rooms from the hall. They discover a window seat in their new room, complete with a message from the previous child who lived there.
Wild is a master storyteller. In this picture book she takes very simple lines of farewell and discovery and turns them into a story that is immensely poignant. The angst of moving, of losing all the beloved elements of your life comes full circle here as the child celebrates the current moment of firsts and hellos to their new home. The text is utter simplicity, allowing the emotions to come through without being described at all.
The illustrations by James are captivating. She shows the androgynous child and their homes in stark black and white with engaging expressions and body language. Beyond the windows of the homes and outside, the world is awash is color from the watercolor of the flowing river to the sun on the hills to the orangey tones of the new home.
A moving book that takes time to deal with goodbyes but also celebrates new discoveries too. Appropriate for ages 3-6.
Reviewed from e-galley provided by Blue Dot Kids Press.