You ever read a book and think, “Well that was interesting. Did I like it? Yes. Did I love it? Well, no.” And that is how I felt about The Lantern House by Erin Napier (with illustrations by Adam Trest). Maybe I was a little biased by the fact the book is by a celebrity. Or was not completely in the right mood or space to be reading. Yet, I know one thing about this book. I might not have loved it, but I know there are a whole lot of people who will.
The story is told from the point of view of the house. From the day it is a new home, ready for the first family to move it to the day the next family arrives, we watch the house watch the people. It protects. It watches the husband and wife have a child, watch that child chase the dog and miss her when she is at school. The house is there for the girl when she sits on the front porch swing with the boy who will stand with her in front of the fireplace as they marry. The house is there when the girl brings a boy to visit his grandparents. The boy climbs the tree (which we watch grow up as well) and we see the light in the window when it is the only light that turns on. And the house tells us of the day when the light does not. And finally, the special day arrives when the story starts again.
This sweet, and somewhat bitter, and yet, hopeful, story is complimented and supported by the soft, yet strong images of Trest. They hide surprises and smiles. They allow for a relaxing tone, but one that shows that people are moving and living and yes, dying, here.
Due to the context, this book is aimed at least ages five and up, but works for an adult as well as the child listener/reader.