My House is Singing
Author: Betsy R. Rosenthal; Illustrator: Margaret Chodos-Irvine
Pages: 40
Publisher/Date: Harcourt/2004
ISBN: 0152162933
Age Levels: 3-7 and up

Book Review

"It keeps me warmer than a coat, / drier than an umbrella, / and safer than a good luck charm," says the narrator, a small girl. "It's one giant hug, / wrapping itself around me, / no matter what. / It's my house." And so begins this lovely, lyrical celebration of one child's home.

As readers move through the home page after page, hour after hour, we see everyday objects in new ways. The refrigerator door is a "Magnetic Scrapbook," taking us on a tour from Niagra Falls to the Golden Gate . The smoke detector tattles on makers of crispy toast. And on cold days, one can "open the dryer's mouth/ to feel its warm breath . . ."

As day turns into night, the little girl hears the house singing: "Blinds flapping. / Floors creaking. / Clocks ticking. / Faucet leaking." And wrapped in her cocoon in bed—an orange, flowered spread—she hums a gentle tune and drifts asleep.

Using a variety of printmaking techniques, Chodos-Irvine has done a superb job of evoking a sense of cheery comfort with her cozy, colorful illustrations.

Classroom Uses: The text is an excellent choice for beginning readers, as a read-aloud, or one-on-one sharing.

Reviewed by the teachers at Education Oasis.
©2004 Education Oasis®

About the Author

Betsy R. Rosenthal has lived in eighteen different homes. My House is Singing, her first book, was inspired by the night songs of the house she lives in now. Betsy has fond memories of many household items from her childhood, including the curtains her mother embroidered and her father's red rocking chair. She still has her parents' antique telephone chair, which spends its afternoons buried under lunch boxes, sweaters, and purses. Betsy lives with her husband and three children in Pacific Palisades, California.

About the Illustrator

Margaret Chodos-Irvine lives in a colorful house filled with objects that appear in this book: a red couch, an orange phone, and the chair her husband was rocked in as a baby. She creates her vivid, innovative art in a cozy studio in her backyard. Her distinctive work has appeared in Hello, Arctic! by Theodore Taylor, Apple Pie Fourth of July and Buzz by Janet S. Wong, and Ella Sarah Gets Dressed, which Margaret both wrote and illustrated. She lives with her husband and two daughters in Seattle, Washington. Be sure to visit the illustrator's website.