Title: A Boy and a House
Author/Illustrator: Maja Kastelic
Format: Hardcover(32 pages)
Release date: 11th September 2018
Published By: Annick Press
Page number: 32
Age Range: 4 – 7 years
When a little boy sees a cat slip into the open door of an apartment building, the temptation is too great: he follows the cat into the lobby. Before continuing up the stairway, the boy picks up one of several discarded drawings that litter the floor.
Another open door awaits. Again, the boy follows the cat, this time into an apartment filled with books and toys. No one is there, but a table set for tea testifies to the fact that someone has been there recently. More drawings are scattered throughout, which the boy picks up one by one. With his pile of sketches in hand, he continues up several more staircases until he reaches an attic where a wonderful surprise awaits him.
The stunning illustrations in this wordless book invite the reader into a mysterious world that evokes the beauty of the past. Drawn by the light radiating from every open doorway, the boy lets his curiosity take him on an amazing journey of discovery, which young readers can elaborate with their own versions of the story.
Another picture book today for you, and perfect for that popular Wednesday meme – Wordless Wednesday. Mind you, this post is not wordless, just the book I am featuring 🙂 This book is called ‘A Boy and a House’ and is testimony to the fact that a picture is worth a thousand words.
It visually portrays the curiosity of childhood, and it also shows that curiosity does not always kill the cat (and there is a cat here, of course!). And does it ever so sweetly with beautiful, whimsical, magical, detailed illustrations. There are stories to be found in the details; do read the fine-print here – you will discover more tales (tails too!) The boy does not seem to get distracted much by all those details (except for doing one thing, as you can see later) but is focused on the light, on the cat (and I loved that!)
The book begins with the boy making his way down a street – Grimm Street. Maja Kastelic makes use of shadow and lights effectively to show all that is happening around the boy, on the street, and inside the buildings the boy is passing by. A trumpeter, a lady getting ready for an evening out maybe, mice darting about and having animated conversations, and so much more. And then the boy approaches the house – #34 on Andersen Street. The open door, the lighted house, and the cat, are enough to evoke his curiosity, and he enters. His journey through that seemingly empty but maybe occupied house takes him through rooms filled with with toys, and books, and all we can expect to see in any home, and with scattered drawings waiting to be picked up. As he continues through, what will he discover? Go ahead and order the book here for yourself to find out!
As I went through it a second time, and then many more second times with others (my teen and tween), I discovered new surprises each time. Looking through it with my kids’ eyes opened up other avenues of imagination.
Being wordless makes this book widely accessible – no barriers of language or age. Delightful and detailed illustrations open up a world full of possibilities. The sepia-toned art makes the whole experience nostalgic and we walk through vintage-style pages to write our own stories that are left untold.
About the Author:
Maja Kastelic was born in Slovenia, where she studied painting, philosophy, and the theory of visual arts. She worked for several years as a retouching artist restoring frescos before starting her career in children publishing. Maja has received a White Raven Award and has been selected for the Bologna Illustrators Exhibition.
You can read about Maja’s creative process for this book – and with lots of interesting facts and details as well about the process – here. (warning: this link will tell you lots about the book!! But I am glad I found it. I have discovered more wonderful artists and books)
- Play an I Spy game. Note down details on each page and research them. I found a few fascinating facts and have more details to go through yet. And as a game to play with you, dear readers, here is something I have. Here is my list of discoveries from the book so far – you can open it up at a later date to do a compare and send me a note to let me know what you found so I can add it to my list.
- Take turns at writing down your own stories and compare them.
- Maybe, each of you can write down what you think happens on single pages and then put them together for a totally different take on the tale.