Picture Books with Inanimate Characters

A Home Again.

I request at least one book a day from the library. Novels, graphic novels, picture books. I request a bit of this and a dab of that. In the morning, I love to sprawl on the sofa, drink coffee, and read picture books.

I did a double take when I started reading A Home Again by Colleen Rowan Kosinski. In short, it is the story of a house. Yes, the house is the main character.

“How is Kosinski going to pull this off?” I asked. It is very hard to create a picture book from the point-of-view of an object. Drew Daywalt manages to do it in The Day the Crayons Quit because the crayons aren’t inanimate. They run around. They have adventures. In all reality they are children. No, really. Read the book with that in mind and you’ll see what I mean.

But a house? It can’t get up and move around.

And yet Kosinski pulls it off, because, (PLOT SPOILERS THROUGHOUT THIS PARAGRAPH) like the crayons, the house is really a child. It loves the family that lives there. It basks in the smell of baking bread. It enjoys laughter and running feet. And when the family moves away it is very sad. This sadness shows in the appearance of the house. When a new couple moves in, the house resists – water drips from faucets, lightbulbs unscrew and more. The people know this is the right house and they don’t give up and finally bring in their daughter and the house again falls in love.

Do you see what I mean? The house has the emotions of a child. It resists change, just like . . . me. It doesn’t want to be hurt again so it hunkers down and tries to be left alone.

All of the emotions that the house feels will be recognizable to the child reader. The desire to be a bit naughty to show how mad and hurt it is? Kids will get that too.

Some people may be tempted to call this a quiet book but quite a lot happens in its 32 short pages. It has depth and emotion and really the house is a three dimensional character much more than it is a static object.

Check out this book and see if you don’t come up with an idea or seven.