The Books

House Held Up by Trees

by Ted Kooser
Illustrated by Jon Klassen

One Potato Review

Here the poet Ted Kooser has populated Jon Klassen’s brown and white landscapes with questions that do not seem to promise any rousing resolutions, but manage to nevertheless keep you guessing about what should happen when all that white (the perfectly tended lawn that frames the house of the title) and all that brown (the wooded, wild acres of adjacent plots) inevitably inch together. This despite the Sisyphean ministrations of a father, mowing and pulling up seedlings and stumps, while the children take shelter in the cool of the shadows, crawling on hands and knees, and imagining animals they can barely hear. But children grow up, move away, and even the most militant convictions are usually softened with age. How else to make sense of a roadside spectacle like this house yanked up from its roots, except that someone’s careful planning took at turn for the unexpected? In the end this is nobody’s burden – the father’s moved out, For Sale signs go ever unanswered – still hallelujah for the story it leaves behind.

Related Blog Entries