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Phillis Gershator






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Old House

Old House,
New House


illustrated by Katherine Potter

Cavendish, 2009



From the book jacket:

It's summer, and a little girl likes moving into an old country house with a cranberry bog, a bullfrog creek, and farm animals that live down the road.

But when fall comes, it's time to pack up and move again--all the way across the country to a new house in a new place with new friends and new adventures.

A little about the book:

     This, my first autobiographical story in verse, is meant to be reassuring for those who must move from a place they love to a new, unfamiliar place.
      I think I am an expert when it comes to moving. I moved so many times! As a child I lived in a quonset hut, a garage, a hotel, an apartment, a basement, and a tract house. When I grew up, moving from place to place again, I lived in California, New Jersey, and New York--a lighthouse in summer, a beach house in winter, a 19th century cottage in Berkeley, and a Brooklyn brownstone. When we moved to St. Thomas, we lived in a 19th century West Indian merchant’s villa behind Back Street, then an old-time gingerbread house on stilts, and now, since 1987, in a cinder block house on a hilltop, and it's been the longest time I’ve ever lived in one place, over twenty years!
      I first wrote about living in the “Old House” in junior high. We were asked to create an autobiographical story for English class, and I got an A on mine. I wonder if that good grade encouraged me to become a REAL writer?
     Later, in the early 1970’s, my husband and I and our two children lived for a while in a cabin without modern conveniences, and memories of the “Old House” popped up again in my personal New Jersey journal. And those memories popped up yet again when I wrote Old House, New House.
 

From the reviews:

"After spending the summer in an old country house, a little girl feels bereft when her family moves west to a new house. As the girl and her parents settle into the rural house without plumbing, she revels in the cranberry bog, plays with neighbor kids, picks berries, bathes in a washtub and has the “very best summer” ever. But when summer ends and they leave, she feels sad parting from the old house and her friends. She wonders if she will ever see snow or find a new friend. By describing her feelings of elation and sadness in first-person, past-tense verse, the little girl creates a nostalgic tone that captures her idyllic memories of that perfect summer. Potter’s softly hued chalk-pastel illustrations spread across the pages with elegiac images of the girl drawing well water, lying by the cranberry bog, picking blueberries, washing in a galvanized tub and cavorting with farm animals. The satisfying and simple verbal and visual images sustain summer memories while anticipating life in a new place." Kirkus