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House Held Up by Trees [Hardcover]

Ted Kooser , Jon Klassen
4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
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Book Description

March 27 2012
From Pulitzer Prize-winning poet Ted Kooser and rising talent Jon Klassen comes a poignant tale of loss, change, and nature's quiet triumph.

When the house was new, not a single tree remained on its perfect lawn to give shade from the sun. The children in the house trailed the scent of wild trees to neighboring lots, where thick bushes offered up secret places to play. When the children grew up and moved away, their father, alone in the house, continued his battle against blowing seeds, plucking out sprouting trees. Until one day the father, too, moved away, and as the empty house began its decline, the trees began their approach. At once wistful and exhilarating, this lovely, lyrical story evokes the inexorable passage of time — and the awe-inspiring power of nature to lift us up.

Frequently Bought Together

House Held Up by Trees + I Want My Hat Back + Extra Yarn
Price For All Three: CDN$ 41.88

  • I Want My Hat Back CDN$ 13.00
  • Extra Yarn CDN$ 15.16

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Product Description


Though there’s a family involved, the real star of this multilayered modern parable is a plot of land...the artwork initially functions as stoic background for the story, with wide-angle perspectives filled with plenty of open space and muted colors. But in the second part, as the trees take over, Klassen’s compositions command more and more attention, elbowing the text into the periphery and subtly reinforcing the themes in play... Unfolding with uncommon grace, the environmental heart of this story is revealed obliquely but powerfully.
—Booklist (starred review)

The former poet laureate Ted Kooser’s HOUSE HELD UP BY TREES is a lyric, poetic story, stark but also imbued with a haunting beauty…Jon Klassen’s illustrations are quiet, delicate and nuanced, amplifying the text in fresh, original ways through the use of unexpected angles and perspective.
—The New York Times

Poignant and lovely.
—Kirkus Reviews

About the Author

Ted Kooser, the United States Poet Laureate from 2004 to 2006, was awarded a Pulitzer Prize for his book of poems Delights & Shadows. He is the author of twelve full-length volumes of poetry and several books of nonfiction, and his work has appeared in many periodicals. Bag in the Wind, illustrated by Barry Root, was his first picture book. Ted Kooser lives in Garland, Nebraska.

Jon Klassen is the author-illustrator of I Want My Hat Back. The first picture book he illustrated, Cats’ Night Out by Caroline Stutson, won the Governor General's Award for illustration in his native Canada. Jon Klassen now lives in Los Angeles.

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Most helpful customer reviews
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Beautiful Magical Read April 23 2012
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
This is a lovely book. The text by Ted Kooser and the art work by Jon Klassen are a perfect marriage for this captivating, sometimes sad, haunting and lovely story of reclamation and rebirth. A must have for any elementary school library. Perfect for talking about Earth Day.

House Held Up by Trees
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3.0 out of 5 stars Wonderfully Illustrated! Jan. 1 2013
By Mcdonam
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
I found the story a little creepy, kind of sad for a children's book. The Jon Klassen illustrations are the main reason I purchased this book and they do not disappoint.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
Amazon.com: 4.1 out of 5 stars  19 reviews
12 of 15 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Full Meal of Nature and Family from Pulitzer-winning Poet April 15 2012
By David Crumm - Published on Amazon.com
Pulitzer-winning former Poet Laureate Ted Kooser's birthday is close to Earth Day. To be precise, Kooser was born on April 25 way back in 1939, long before anyone thought of the annual observance. Nevertheless, Kooser has been writing about the tangled relationships between our lives and the natural world throughout his career. Now, he gives us this wonderful picture book for children (and the adults who love them). The new book is memorable partly because its story is so simple: A family grows up in a sterile suburban yard with a perfectly manicured lawn, the children grow up, the father ages, the home is abandoned--and native trees soon reclaim the place like rising pillars of some ancient temple.

Of course, followers of Kooser's work through the decades might read this new book as an offshoot of Kooser's earlier family memoir, Lights on a Ground of Darkness: An Evocation of a Place and Time. Anyone who knows Kooser's poetry and especially his family memoir immediately will recognize his voice within these new pages so beautifully illustrated by Jon Klassen.

Kooser wrote the earlier Lights on a Ground at the point when his own family was vanishing and their familiar haunts were fading. No, none of his family had a house consumed by trees, but Kooser makes it clear in his memoir that our human lives and our favorite family stories are woven through the places we love.

He opens the memoir with a poem to his late mother, Vera Delores Moser Kooser: "Mid April already, and the wild plums bloom at the roadside, a lacy white against the exuberant, jubilant green of new grass and the dusty, fading black of burned-out ditches. No leaves, not yet ..." But clearly those leaves are coming in "the month of my birth ... the best month to be born in," Kooser writes. And how does he remember his mother best? By moving some of the irises she loved over to his own yard. Soon, they will blossom in the "feast" of spring. Then, he writes to his mother: "Were it not for the way you taught me to look at the world, to see the life at play in everything, I would have to be lonely forever."

What an elegy! For that reason, in recommending House Held up by Trees today, we also urge readers to pick up Kooser's Lights on a Ground. Together, the two books are a full meal, as Kooser might put it, about the ephemeral quality of family, the ever-changing nature of place--and the potent place of nature in preserving what is best in all of us.
5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A wonderful book about how nature can lift us up March 31 2012
By Terry Miller - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
You will enjoy "House Held Up By Trees" by Ted Kooser and illustrated by Jon Klassen. The story is told in the simple and beautiful style of Kooser's poetry, so adults and children will enjoy this tale of how nature can lift us up. I don't write a lot of book reviews (I've written only one other for a book by John Yamrus), but I simply had to let readers know about his wonderful work. I don't have grandchildren yet, but when I do, one of the first stories I will read to them will be "House Held Up By Trees." - Terry Jude Miller
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Nice book, but... April 1 2013
By S. R. Sopha - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
This had the opportunity to be a really fun book, but the writing is difficult to get through. It just doesn't flow very well. The illustration is very nice and the atmosphere of the book is good, but the wording is odd.
5 of 7 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Wonderful poet not wonderful children's book author May 1 2012
By Beverley R. Enright - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
I love Ted Kooser's poetry, and I wish there were more of that in this book. But there is too much prose. There is a bit of magic, but mostly the voice is too objective and cool. The illustrations are beautiful.
5.0 out of 5 stars Beautiful and haunting prose May 26 2014
By Kathy Maskell - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
Bought this book as a gift for my son's pre-k teacher. It has a quiet, beautiful cadence that my son loved, and tells a story of love, loss, and memory.
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