Apr 28, 2012

Fiction Fridays (Saturday Edition): In A People House

I meant to post this Friday. I started it on Friday. I thought about it on Friday afternoon, and I intended to finish it Friday night.
But then Friday evening my daughter A. had a meltdown of gargantuan, exhausting proportions, and as soon as I got the kids to bed I flopped straight into bed and straight to sleep myself. (She's fine now, thank you).

So anyway....

In A People House
By Theo LeSieg
Illustrated by Roy McKie
Random House, 1972

"Come inside, Mr. Bird,"
said the mouse.
"I'll show you what there is
in a People House..."

Dr Seuss wrote as Theo LeSieg on books illustrated by others, and when I think back as a kid I probably liked the Theo LeSieg books best. Dr Seuss was a genius, but his illustrations could be a little creepy.

Re-reading Theo LeSieg books now what I like about them are the really simple illustrations - few of which, I think, would pass muster in a new book today.

Story synopsis:
The mouse takes Mr Bird through a typical middle-class house in 1970s America, and shows him all the things there are:

A People House has things like chairs, 
things like roller skates and stairs.
Banana, bathtub, bottles, brooms,
that's what you find in people's rooms.

As they go through the house the pictures show them using or playing with the things they find, making more and more of a mess and having more and more fun, until a pile of "doll and dishes, teapot, trash" being balanced by the mouse comes crashing down, bringing forth the people who live in the house to toss the animals outside.

Why it's good:
It's a fun book to read because the rhythm is so good, and in usual Seuss/LeSieg style it's funny too. The use of household objects means that kids can talk about which things we have at home ("big blue ball") and which we don't (piano, stairs). The pictures also tell a huge part of the story. As the animals go through the rooms, it's the illustrations that tell the story of the fun and the mess. And the story is from the animals' (i.e., little kids) point of view, in that the people (i.e., parents) are not shown except as disciplinarians at the end (and you don't see them in full). You know how much mess a small wild animal can make if it gets in your house - this story is cute because it imagines that happening because the animals are curious and having fun looking around.

And of course, what kid can't relate to being curious about objects, playing with stuff they're not supposed to, making a sudden mess and being shunted out of a room by giant grown-ups?

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  1. I LOVE Dr Suess but never knew he wrote under another name. I think my little man would really love this book so thank you! I'll search for it during the week.

  2. Thanks Melissa, it is a good one. Look for anything by Theo LeSieg!



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