'The best books, reviewed with insight and charm, but without compromise.'
- author Jackie French

Saturday 27 July 2019

Review: Goodbye House, Hello House

With previous collaborations on The Midnight Gang, Lucy Goosey, Little Humpty and Jenny Angel, it is wonderful to have Margaret Wild and Ann James create Goodbye House, Hello House.

From the start Emma embraces the changes that are upon her, moving house from the country to the city.

Once all the boxes are packed Emma spends her final moments in the country side saying goodbye to things she loved to do, like fishing in the river and swinging on the farm gate.  She then says farewell to the rooms in the house and changes the writing on the wall from Emma lives here to  Emma lived here.

Upon the arrival at the new house in the city, Emma celebrates her firsts, like climbing a specific tree for the first time or patting this cat.

Once inside her new home she says hello to the rooms and settles onto the comfy window seat and changes the writing on the wall left by the previous child, Kim.

Wild has written a story depicting the experience of parting with one's family home and all the things that you loved about living there. She shows Emma bravely accepting the changes that come with moving house. Showing that while the landscapes are vastly different one can still find many familiar experiences with a new outlook.

Wild's words are supported by James' illustrations. There are very subtle messages in the illustrations showing the emotions that Emma experiences during this change; sadness, resignation, uncertainty, excitement and acceptance. Many of these feeling are shown though Emma's body language; slumped shoulders, tilt of her head, to out stretched arms, uncertain eyes and smiles.

James has explored a new style of illustration. I can see the influence of her playful exploration from I'm a Dirty Dinosaur combined with other abstracted techniques. There is a young, reminiscent and familiar feeling of a child's first painting though the use of broad brush strokes and lines of fingertips in paint. This abstract painting recedes into the background as the black and white line drawings pop forward, making it all about Emma, her emotions and experiences rather than the landscape or house. 

Goodbye House, Hello House is a wonderful story to add to the collection of moving house stories.

Title: Goodbye House, Hello House
Author: Margaret Wild
Illustrator: Ann James
Publisher: Allen & Unwin, $24.99
Publication Date: 1 July 2019
Format: Picture Book
ISBN: 9781743311103
For ages: 3+
Type: Picture Book