This glorious new picture book from two-time Caldecott Medalist Sophie Blackall is as lavish and moving a tribute to a storied, beloved place as Hello Lighthouse.
Over a hill, at the end of a road, by a glittering stream that twists and turns stands a farmhouse.
Step inside the dollhouse-like interior of Farmhouse and relish in the daily life of the family that lives there, rendered in impeccable, thrilling detail. Based on a real family and an actual farmhouse where Sophie salvaged facts and artifacts for the making of this spectacular work, page after page bursts with luminous detail and joy. Join the award-winning, best-selling Sophie Blackall as she takes readers on an enchanting visit to a farmhouse across time, to a place that echoes with stories.
By Sophie Blackall
In rhythmic, lightly rhyming verse and densely textured multimedia spreads whose collaged layers mimic the strata of stories built up over generations, two-time Caldecott Medalist Blackall relays the history of a white clapboard farmhouse “where twelve children/ were born and raised,/ where they learned to crawl,/ in the short front hall.” Gently affectionate lines and impish portraits of the siblings, who read as white, imagine their young lives in mischief, play, and work as they “whispered secrets,/ played truth or dare,/ and lost their teeth/ and brushed their hair.” Cleverly rendered cutaway images, meanwhile, hint visually at adjoining rooms while centering myriad objects: rag rugs, prize ribbons, “a button/ that was once a shell in the sea,” and more. After the last family member eventually departs, and the house falls into decay (“the parlor organ that rattled with nuts,/ put there by a squirrel with rather a fuss”), a turn toward authorial self-insertion pushes the once unsalvageable “falling-down house” into the here and now. The tale’s strong sense of place undergirds Blackall’s witness to the way environments change over time and stories survive long after material objects disappear, in a thoughtful, expertly executed work that looks simultaneously forward and back. An author’s note details the story behind the Upstate New York farmhouse. Ages 4–8. Agent: Nancy Gallt, Gallt & Zacker Literary. (Sept.)
Praise for Farmhouse:
A BookPage Best Book of 2022
A Kirkus Best Book of 2022
A School Library Journal Best Book of 2022
A New York Times Best Illustrated Book of 2022
A Publishers Weekly Best Book of 2022
*"A lovely, tender reimagination of people in a long-past time and place."—Kirkus, starred review
*"A love letter to the joys of country living and family life as well as the importance of treasuring the past and all its stories."—School Library Journal, starred review
*"The tale’s strong sense of place undergirds Blackall’s witness to the way environments change over time and stories survive long after material objects disappear, in a thoughtful, expertly executed work that looks simultaneously forward and back."—Publishers Weekly, starred review
*"Blackall’s illustrations are everything here, incorporating wallpaper, fabrics, and other items scavenged from the house melded together with ink, watercolor, gouache, and colored pencil to create vibrantly layered compositions with a tactile quality."—Horn Book, starred review
* "Genuinely captivating...A meditation on the creative process...Multifaceted and arresting...Irresistible."—Booklist, starred review