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The Blue House

4.27  ·  Rating details ·  532 ratings  ·  110 reviews
In the tradition of Virginia Lee Burton's The Little House comes a heartfelt story about a father and son learning to accept the new while honoring and celebrating the old.

For as long as he can remember, Leo has lived in the blue house with his dad, but lately the neighborhood is changing. People are leaving, houses are being knocked down and shiny new buildings are going
Hardcover, 32 pages
Published August 11th 2020 (first published August 2020)
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Average rating 4.27  · 
Rating details
 ·  532 ratings  ·  110 reviews

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Laura Harrison
Aug 24, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Incredibly detailed and beautiful story about a child, his father and a much loved house. There is so much to enjoy and look at in The Blue House. Phoebe Wahl’s folk art style is warm and comfortable. The household is a loving and close one. Also a very creative and artistic one. If you have a child who is experiencing a house move or other life change-The Blue House is fantastic. Highly recommend.
Sep 03, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Not only is the folksy art awesome, but I feel like this book fills a hole in picture books of economic diversity.
reading is my hustle
my heart is a puddle after reading this sweet & tender picture book. phoebe's illustrations are the best.

Sep 08, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
With her trademark folk art, Phoebe Wahl writes a modern-day story with a classic feel about change, moving houses, and the relationship between father and son. Amongst the gorgeous art are layers of house vs. home, single parenthood, gentrification, what it means to be a "boy", and enduring change with true emotions. Look closely and you'll find humorous re-titles of books and albums. This book is a modern classic filled with love, heartbreak, and healing. ...more
This one reminds me of my childhood. I love that Leo's hair is long and that they dance and bake to be happier and get out their rage as well. ...more
Edward Sullivan
Aug 02, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: picture-books
A beautifully illustrated and told, richly detailed, affecting portrayal of a loving father-son family experiencing unexpected change and transition to a new life.
Amanda Carr
I'm not crying, you're crying. This is the sweetest story; reminded me so much of Virginia Lee Burton's The Little House. ...more
Charlotte Offsay
Leo and his dad's house isn't perfect but it's theirs and they love it. It's theirs that is until their landlord forces them out and makes plans for it to be knocked down. This beautiful book shows how Leo and his dad process their emotions, accept what they can't change, and find a way to honor and celebrate the old as they move forward. I highly recommend this stunning and incredibly moving conversation opener to parents, teachers, and librarians everywhere. ...more
Sep 06, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Beautiful, moving illustrations and text. Makes you feel immediately part of the home and family. Loved that myriad feelings associated with losing a home and moving were explored without judgement. The boy and his father don’t try to fight the sadness or anger but find productive channels for it. Excellent.
Crystal Brooke
Sep 09, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This book was so precious. 💙🏠
Sandy Brehl
Homes are so much more than the structures in which we live.
THE BLUE HOUSE, written and illustrated by Phoebe Wahl, explores this question with incredibly tender insight and details. The front and back covers effectively lift this very specific blue house and this very special father-son pair (Leo and his dad) into a liminal white space that could represent any place, any time. The art there and throughout the book utilizes Wahl's characteristic and intentionally primitive style, infused with e
Jan 03, 2021 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
The text and illustrations capture the emotions that will surface whenever a family moves perfectly.
Leo and his father have lived in their blue house forever and Leo loves their evening dance parties, baking pies to warm the house in Winter and the berries and tomatoes that they grow in the yard. The comfort and happiness that define home are captured perfectly. Their neighborhood slowly changes as developers move in and one day they get a call from the landlord that the house they live in has b
This book really surprised me. If you had pitched me a picture book about gentrification I would never have guessed it would be this sweet and readable and filled with little social-emotional gems. The illustrations are so sweet and I love this cute little dad & son family. It's also so beautifully, specifically about the Pacific Northwest and she lives in Bellingham where my bestie lives! ...more
I'm utterly in love with Phoebe Wahl's artwork. Her beautiful, whimsical style is so comforting and enchanting. I've been wanting to read this book, and now that I have I really want to buy a copy for my future children. The story is heartwarming and about change being hard and what home is really all about.
Such a sweet wholesome story.
Rebecca Gomez
Nov 20, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: picture-books
A nice story about moving on and letting go of things you can't take with you. ...more
Jan 01, 2021 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: father and moving requests.
Recommended to June by: Edward Sullivan
A loving portrait of a father and son, who are forced to move from the rental house they both love and how they cope with their anger and turning their new abode into a home.
Stephanie Dale
Jan 23, 2021 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Love the details! Please notice the album covers as they dance in the living room!!!
Of course I love any beautiful book that explores themes of house and home. :)
A fine story to discuses the trials of change.
Molly Cluff (Library!)
I adore Phoebe Wahl's art style in her fairy book, and I love it so much in this book, too. This is a heart-tugging story about a boy and his dad who live in a run down blue house that means so much to them. They are devastated when they have to move out because their landlord decided to knock the house down. So darling, and I love the little unconventional details of the family's life--the little boy's long hair, their therapeutic rock n' roll session to get their anger out, the dingy couch, th ...more
Deb (Readerbuzz) Nance
"Leo lived with his dad
in an old blue house
next to a tall fir tree.

The paint was peeling,
and the roof was mossy.

There were leaks and creaks.
And when the wind blew,
the whole thing shook.
But it was theirs."

And then one day it wasn't. The landlord informed Leo and his dad that he was going to tear the house down and build a new house. The two were forced to deal with this big change. How do they do so?

A wise book with interesting characters that talks about important things.
Abby Johnson
This heartfelt story honors the big emotions a child feels when he has to move to a new house and he absolutely hates it. Leo and his dad love their blue house, but when new developments start springing up around the city and the landlord sells the property, they are forced to move to a new house. Both Leo and his dad feel angry and sad that it's happening and find constructive ways to deal with their feelings. This moving picture book pays homage to Virginia Lee Burton's classic The Little Hous ...more
There are numerous things I adored about this book. First, I loved how the father and his son were happy with what they had. In an age where most people are constantly trying to upgrade everything in their lives, it was refreshing to see people happy with the "simpler" things in life. Next, I enjoyed how the father and son rocked out! Lastly, I loved how this book showed the effects of "progress." Most people think it's fine to tear down old structures to make room for the new, but they don't re ...more
Aug 16, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: picture-books
Leo lived with his father in a blue house that they loved. The paint may have been peeling, there may have been leaks, and it might shake when the wind blew, but the house was theirs. It was cold in the winter, but Leo and his dad just baked pies to keep the kitchen warm and had dance parties in their hats and scarves. The house had a big garden and a yard where Leo loved to spend all day playing. But their neighborhood was changing, and eventually it was their house that needed to be knocked do ...more
This one was a 3.5 for me, and it touched me because it describes an experience with which many readers can relate. Created with watercolor, gouache, collage, and colored pencil, the illustrations are a visual feast for readers since they fill the pages with rich colors and textures. It's easy to see why Leo and his father are so fond of their blue house, even though it's imperfect and rundown. It offers places to hide and play, and it brings Leo and his father together. But as nearby houses beg ...more
Leo and his dad live in this creaky old blue house. They aren't rich and sometimes when the heat doesn't work, they bundle up and dance to keep warm. They also heat the oven and make a pie! A little worry creeps in when builders around them are tearing down other houses and finally they get the notice. They must move out because their beloved home is being torn down, too. In beautiful colored collage pages, Phoebe shares this story, based on her own life experience, says "her" blue house looks ...more
In a world of opulent home remodels and house flipping, this book reminds us that home isn't about new appliances and square footage. Leo and his dad live "in an old blue house next to a tall fir tree. The paint was peeling and the roof was mossy. There were leaks and creaks. And when the wind blew, the whole thing shook. But it was theirs."
When the heat goes out, Leo and his dad bake a pie to keep the oven warm and dance around the living room, in the summer they plant gardens and play in the
Jan 12, 2021 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: storytime, kids
Iggi's Storytime Criteria
Age group: Preschool+
Content: houses/homes, moving, landlords, gentrification, housing instability, poverty
Plot: Leo and his dad live in a broken down old blue house, but it's theirs and they love it, until new construction nearby means the landlord sells the house. Then Leo and his dad have to move to a new place and are sad about the loss of the blue house.
Wordiness: Medium-low
Length: Medium-short
Illustrations: Rich and detailed, painted
Page Gloss: Matte
Other: Gentrifi
I had never heard the word "gentrification" when I was a kid. I knew that sometimes grownups would act all grumbly about certain areas, and then sometime later the houses might get torn down and something big and new and often out of place for that neighborhood/area would get build there and the grownups would compain. My dad still drives around and points out where this used to be or that used to be, but "now they put up ___ or now ___ is there, and there went the neighborhood."

I thought about
Sep 13, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Leo and his dad live in the creaky old blue house. Leo loves the house and all the things he and his dad do there like bake pies, dance to music and play in the garden. When they have to move away because the house is being torn down, Leo is angry and bereft. He is sure the new house will never be the same.

Wahl captures the deep connection children often feel for their home and the very real distress and anger a move can cause. This is ultimately a reassuring story for children that while not fo
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