By Virginia Lee Burton
Houghton Mifflin Books, 1942
Once upon a time there was a Little House way out in the country. She was a pretty Little House and she was strong and well built. The Little House was very happy as she sat on the hill and watched the countryside around her.
Or at least she was happy, until the lights of the city began creeping closer and closer…I remember reading The Little House when I was little, and poring endlessly over the drawings. I loved the fine details — the farmers plowing their fields, the rutted country dirt roads and later, the striped store awnings and smoggy city sky, But what captured my imagination was the idea that the passage of time is relatively imperceptible to us mere mortals who stop breathing after seventy-eight years or so, but acutely felt, and endured, by the things around us. Things like — a Little House. Burton’s prose, while lovely as usual, could use a good edit (as usual). But make sure you pass on the board book version, in which an editor has gone to the opposite extreme and chopped up the prose so much, it’s like eating a sandwich without the meat — er, avocado and Vegenaise.