Written by Margaret Wild and illustrated by Ann James
Recommended for ages 3-6 years
A lovely story about moving from the country to the city, about saying goodbye to the old and hello to the new, and ultimately, letting go and embracing change.
Everything is packed up and ready to go, and Emma has a heavy heart as she says goodbye to all the special places she has loved on the property of the house, and goodbye to every room of the house. Her heart is heavy as she embraces the last time she will do certain things at this house, such as fishing in the river, running through the trees and patting the pony. We also see Emma change some old writing she had written on the wall from “Emma lives here”, to “Emma lived here”.
Goodbye, old house. Goodbye.
When Emma and her family move to their new house in the city, Emma’s heaviness of heart grows into hope and anticipation, even delight as she marks a number of “firsts” at her new house. Firsts, such as the first time she pushes open the gate, the first time she climbs up the tree in the backyard, the first time she pats the cat who lives next door. Emma then says “Hello” to all the rooms in her new house. Emma even says hello to the bright city lights she can see as she sits on the comfy window seat.
Emma crosses out the writing on the wall left by Kim, the last little girl who lived at this house, and puts her own mark on her new house: “Emma lives here now”.
Hello, new house, hello.
Upon reading this picture book, delight in the endpapers at the start of the book, reflecting Emma’s house in the country that she is saying goodbye to. At the end of the story check out the endpapers depicting Emma sitting in the tree in her new backyard in the city, with the cat from next door, waving at her neighbour who is at his window. Notice how Ann has illustrated the city with more yellow light, and the country with natural light.
Margaret Wild was born in South Africa, and moved to Australia in 1972, when she was in her mid 20’s. She has published over 70 picture books for young children and written two verse novels for teenagers. Her picture book “Chalk Boy” was shortlisted in the CBCA competition last year for the Picture Book of the Year.
Ann James has illustrated over 60 books, some of which she has been the author and illustrator. Ann and Margaret have teamed up before on the following titles: “The Midnight Gang”, “Little Humpty”, and “Lucy Goosey”.
Ann works using a variety of mediums, including pen, ink, watercolour, charcoal, soft pastels and collage.