Thursday, February 16, 2012

Artfully Illustrated...

My friend, Danelle consistently sends me the best-looking new books.  She's like a one-woman Caldecott committee.  She just has an eye for them.  And she certainly wasn't wrong about Inga Moore's, A House in the Woods.  Published last autumn by Candlewick Press, Moore's story about two pigs, a bear, and a moose who build their dream house in the woods (with the help of a crew of beavers) is a beautiful book.
A great read?  No, I don't think so.  But I could look at it all day long.

Moore is an illustrator who loves Art (with a capital A).  She delights in the subtleties of light and shadow on the forest floor, the challenge of representing the texture of pine needles, compositions that pull the viewer deep into her woodsy glen.  Moore describes her medium as pencil, pastel, and wash... Oil or chalk pastel?  Watercolor wash?  No matter what, she manipulates the disharmony of dry and wet, hard graphite and soft pastel, oil and water superbly.  Moore rises to every challenge of light and fog and fur!  I really, really could look at these pictures for hours.  I love them.

I wish I loved her story as much.  It's a good length, and it has a good pace for read-alouds.  But it fizzles.  Perhaps it is the complete lack of drama and suspense.  It's just one big, hunkey-dorey day for these animals, and I found myself wondering "Now, what was the point of that?" School Library Journal has a different take on the lack of confrontation in the story, so be sure to check out their review, too.

School Library Journal Review: A House in the Woods by Inga Moore

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