Angela Johnson The Aunt in Our House

ISBN 13: 9780531095027

The Aunt in Our House

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9780531095027: The Aunt in Our House
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When "The Aunt" comes to live with them, the entire family enjoys her company and helps her forget about the home she has lost

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From Publishers Weekly:

Johnson's (Julius; Toning the Sweep) cryptic tale suggests questions, then leaves it wholly to the reader to answer them. Told by the older of two siblings who live with their white father and African American mother, the story opens on an affectionate note: "The sun shines brighter through the front window in our house since The Aunt came. It makes us warmer in winter." The child tells how The Aunt helps Mama weave blankets and rugs, lets the youngsters play her trumpet and encourages them to splash in puddles barefoot. Yet this apparently sunny woman spends some days gazing silently out the window, which brings the nebulous comment from Mama that The Aunt misses her home. Intentionally vague, the text leaves readers wondering why and for how long the Aunt has come to stay, and why she is occasionally so sad. Well-matched to the expressiveness of the narrative, Soman's (illustrator of Johnson's The Leaving Morning, see p.106) watercolor and pastel illustrations appear to move in and out of focus, depending on the mood of the moment, and effectively convey the characters' changeable emotions. Ages 5-8.
Copyright 1996 Reed Business Information, Inc.

From Kirkus Reviews:

A restrained, somewhat sorrowful work from two frequent collaborators (The Leaving Morning, 1992, etc.). A brother narrates the changes he and his younger sister observe in their biracial household when their aunt--their father's sister--comes to stay. The text is spare: ``She brought a fish in a bowl/and a chair that she sat under a tree./ She said that we were hers now./The Aunt was ours too./So we watched the Aunt in our house.'' There is an undertone of abiding sadness here: ``But sometimes/The Aunt in our house/is quiet/and looks out the window all day.'' In some ways, the art outshines the text. The paintings, a happy marriage of pastel and watercolor, are immediate and exquisitely rendered. They provide the first clues that all is not well with the aunt; the two children are always engaging, anchoring all that is left unsaid to real people. Readers never know why the aunt has come to stay, but they will certainly understand that the family's life is enhanced by her presence in this subtle and affecting work. (Picture book. 5-8) -- Copyright ©1996, Kirkus Associates, LP. All rights reserved.

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9780531088524: The Aunt in Our House

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ISBN 10:  0531088529 ISBN 13:  9780531088524
Publisher: Orchard Books, 1996
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