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NEW HOUSE by Dave Wheeler


by Dave Wheeler ; illustrated by Dave Wheeler

Pub Date: Feb. 23rd, 2021
ISBN: 978-0-593-22492-2
Publisher: Rise x Penguin Workshop

A board book for adults seeking to reassure a toddler about a move to a new house.

The moving truck arrives, and a little blond toddler tumbles out; they’ve arrived at the “new house.” The book goes on to show and name in simple two-word phrases all the new things the protagonist will encounter: “new door”; “new doorstop”; “new dustpan”; “new dirt!”; “new mess!” Readers will see how the new dirt and new mess are getting spread around the “new carpet,” “new kitchen,” and “new staircase” all the way up and into the “new tub!” Up to this point it’s all sweet and endearing, but then comes “new nighttime.” The illustrations are now done in different shades of dark blue, and the shadows cast by the railing around the toddler’s crib look eerily like prison bars. “New shadows,” “new noises,” and especially “new dark!” are outright scary. Seeking to reassure the toddler that in spite of all the new things in this “new house” the important things have not changed, the text shifts to introduce the “same mommy,” “same daddy,” “same songs,” “same hugs,” “same monkey,” and “same blankey.” Yet even in the next-to-last spread, when the protagonist has now settled down and is back to sleep (“same night-night”), the illustration with its dark colors and jaillike feel does not feel comforting at all. All family members appear White.

There are better ways of reassuring toddlers.

(Board book. 2-3)