The Little House

by Virginia Lee Burton

Hardcover, 1969



Call number




Houghton MIfflin (1969), Edition: later Printing


A country house is unhappy when the city, with all its buildings and traffic, grows up around her.

User reviews

LibraryThing member Orpgirl1
A true classic read, this was a book I reviewed based on the fact that I remembered reading and enjoying it myself as a small child. The Little House is the main character of this story she she truly develops human characteristics through her heart-wrenching journey of love and abandonment. Having
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originally been built in the countryside, we watch the Little House enjoy the changing of seasons and the lives of the people living in her. Sadly, the city grows around the little house, left alone and forgotten, until one day she is lovingly saved and moved back to the countryside. The story is replete with commentary on the changing of time (both in seasonal and long-term views), and this little pink house could not engender more empathy in the reader. Although a somewhat dated message of 'rural trumps urban' is the overarching theme, children will love this book for its simple watercolors and story of a house that they'll root for just as much as a real person.
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LibraryThing member penguinasana
When I was little, this was the book I always wanted to read at my grandma and grandpa's house. I think the story appealed to me because in kindergarten, my parents bought a house and we moved from our rental that was being moved to make way for storage buildings. I remember first feeling
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devastated that our house was not going to be there anymore, so this book was extremely comforting to me. As an adult, I still love the illustrations and the story. This one will always have a place in my heart.
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LibraryThing member ml445
The Little House by Virginia Lee Burton is now one of my favorite children's books. Having recently read this book with a child, I found this book educational and interesting. The Little House talks about night and day, the seasons, and the changing world. I would recommend this book to parents and
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teachers. The Little House is also a Caldecott winner for its great illustrations.
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LibraryThing member kmtheodorou
This book was fun, showing how towns grow into a city, how things like a subway work. I really enjoyed the pictures in the book!
LibraryThing member dlsutherlin
Little house is one of the best books from Virginia Lee Burton. The life of little house is shared. We see the beginning when she was surrounded by orchards and fields and the people who lived in her traveled by horse and carriage to the time when cars and paved roads became popular and countryside
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was diminished. It ends happily, however.
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LibraryThing member JulianeAdams
In this book. a house built out in the country is curious about the city when the city is then built around the house. The house goes through years of construction and becomes lonely until something wonderful happens.

I find this book interesting because it's amazing how many houses are built
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before cities and then the large buildings are built around these smaller houses.

I could ask students in the classroom if they have visited a house that was built way before a city was put up around it and ask them to describe to me what it looked like.
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LibraryThing member stuzle
My older son loved this book from the day he was old enough to listen to books. He adored all the details each picture had, and was so intrigued that the house had a city grow up around it---that the same place can become very different. A book I think should be in every child's library.
LibraryThing member Tophercrane
Classic. This is a beautiful book with a great story that even young children (toddler) can appreciate. The story is quick but the changes to the pictures are enough to keep young readers engaged. Highly recommended. I give this book to my client's young children. It remains one of my all time
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LibraryThing member champlin
Picture Book. This is a heart-warming book. Even though it was written long ago there is a sense of permanence about it. The little house is built with love. It sits on a hill and watches the sun, the moon and the stars. It watches as the seasons change and then it watches as tecnology and
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innovation swell around her. She becomes a tiny neglected house in a big city. A great-great granddaughter finds her and moves her back out to the country. This book is a great concept book for seasons, and changes made from pre-industrial era to the present.
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LibraryThing member MerryMary
A softly told, softly illustrated book about finding what makes you happy. The little house is built out in the country, but we slowly watch the environment change as the city reaches out and engulfs it. Page by page, the surroundings change until the little house is a complete alien to its new
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environment. Finally, happy ending time, a descendant of the builder moves the little house back out into the country.
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LibraryThing member ksjeffcoat
There was a house who lived through many seasons and years and eventually a city was built around her. The house was old and needed work done on her and finally a grand-daughter moved into the house and moved her back into the country where she belonged. This story can be read to all ages and the
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illustrations are done in colored pencil.
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LibraryThing member mariamastrocola
Wonderful classic story that is a great read aloud.
LibraryThing member jrjohnson1
Great book to teach kids about friendship. The pictures in the book are very colorful and bright.
LibraryThing member jessica_cassell18
The Little House is story told about a little house that was built and was never ever to be sold. The house was so thrilled that she would be around forever and be there for her owners great great grandchildrens great great grandchildren to live in. She always dreamed what it would be like to live
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in the city and has time passed the city continued to grow and grow and before the little house new what was happening, she was in the city and was forgotten. When one day, the great great granddaughter of the man who built the house passed by and recognized the house and had it moved back into the countryside on a little hill with apple trees growing all around and the little house was at home again.

My personal reaction to this book is that this is how I feel when I go to my mom's house, even though I did not grow up there. Its a sense of going home and knowing that you are grown up and at some point you always wish you were a kid again and could move back home with you mom and dad.

A classroom extension I would use with this book would be for the kids to tell a story of the first home they lived in and how it was special and what they miss about it. I would also use this book to discuss how important it is to remember all those little things from your past and have the kids tell a favorite memory from their home.
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LibraryThing member justineaylward
Sad and happy book. The little house is always there, but as time moves forward the landscape around the little house changes. By the author of Mike Mulligan and his Steam Shovel, which is a favorite with my son.
LibraryThing member tiburon
A little house in the countryside goes through time and is changed by it, but overall the message here is that change happens, and we are able to adapt. In the end, things can and do work out for the best.
LibraryThing member jessy555
Genre: Fantasy
Critique of Genre: This is a darling example of fantasy because you get to know the feelings of this house as it dreams of being in the city and then what it feels when those dreams come true.
Media: watercolor
Age Appropriateness: primary
LibraryThing member djmeyers
I loved the full-circle that the little house encounters: from the country to the big city, and then back to the country. I also really loved the illustrations in this book, transporting me back to my early childhood days of picture books (in the late 60's). As I read thru the book and looked at
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each page, I noticed the steamshovel from Mrs. Burton's other book 'Mike Mulligan and his Steamshovel' even made an appearance! Being a country girl, I appreciated the concept that bigger and faster is not always better. While advancements are great, they can surely make life a bit too harried and overly complicated!! I also appreciated that the little house was never torn down, but ultimately preserved and enjoyed again by later generations. The author seemed to be magnifying the concept that the little house was well made, despite her outward appearance. I loved that the fancier high rises in the city were built and then over time fell apart because they were made so cheaply--bigger/fancier is not always better. In a deeper sense, I think our older generation are made more solidly than those of today, with many rich life experiences that have enhanced their beauty and stability. Looking beneath the surface of age can be a treat for the younger generation, if they will just take the time to enjoy their life experiences.
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LibraryThing member donnammccoy
This story is written from the prospective of the little house, who sits in the country and wishes for other things. Rather than be content with all of nature moving around her through the seasons, she longs for something different, life in the city. Then the city extends until it surrounds her,
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and she doesn't see much of nature anymore and sees just how wonderful things used to be. Finally a famly member of the orginal builder comes along, sees her and has her moved to the country, where she now lives in thankful joy surrounded by the familiar.
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LibraryThing member dianepbh
If I could give a book TEN stars, this would be the book. I think I have re-read this book over a hundred times. As a child, I used to try to draw the beautiful pictures over and over. I was able to get lost on every page. Whenever I see a solitary house either in the city or in the country, I
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recall this book. It is one of the most special books I've ever read.
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LibraryThing member cjfox73
A sad story, but one with redeeming qualities. Children will appreciate it when the house is "rescued." Could be used on a lesson on urban sprawl.
LibraryThing member kjburkhalter
The Little House lives in the country. Every night she looks for the lights from the city and wonders what it would be like to live there. Slowly, the city starts to move to the Little House. She ends up lonely and forgotten. Until one day, movers come move the Little House back to the country. She
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is happy again.
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LibraryThing member gwen.ashworth
Burton, Virginia Lee. The Little House, Boston, Houghton Mifflin Co., 1942.

The Little House won the Caldecott Medal in 1943; this medal is given for artwork, so of course the artwork in the book is amazing and was probably innovative at the time of its publication. The genre of the book is
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fiction/fantasy, and the style of the story is figurative. I think the book would appeal to children Pre-K through 2nd grade. The point of view the story is told from is third- person omniscient. The bright eye catching illustration on the front of the book lets the reader know immediately that the house and the setting are characters in the novel. The use of personification is evident in the artwork which gives the house human characteristics. Its eyes are awake and asleep and show curiosity (on page 30) and sadness (on page 31). The author states that the house is: frightened, sad, lonely and happy at various points throughout the story, and the house can see the sun and the moon and hear noise and smell pollution.
The book does tell an excellent story the theme, although not stated, is one of hope and change. It may have been the first environmentally politically correct book for children. As stated earlier, the setting is a character in the story. At the beginning of the story, The Little House is built on a hill in the country in the days of the horse and buggy. Again, the reader is made to understand this through the artwork. The original setting is a peaceful one with trees, flowers, sunshine and children playing in the yard. The reader understands the passing of time through the artwork---day turns to night, winter to spring. As with life, the passage of time brings changes.
The Little House is surprised to see horseless carriages “winding down the country road” and “fewer and fewer carriages pulled by horses.” The city lights have always held a sense of awe and curiosity for The Little House, but now the lights seem to be getting closer. Soon dump trucks and steam shovels are plowing down the roads and building gas stations, roadside stands, and more houses. Then there are apartment buildings, trolley cars, and bus and subway stations. People rushed and hurried everywhere; the noise was awful. The Little House couldn’t tell day from night or see the sun or stars in the sky for the city lights. The dust and smoke were awful too. The Little House is now in terrible condition; the windows are broken and the paint is peeling, and The Little House is miserable. One day a woman sees the house and says that it looks like the house her grandmother lived in years ago in the country. When the woman finds out that it is indeed the same house, she has The Little House moved into the country where the house is painted and fixed. The Little House is happy once again.
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LibraryThing member SFM13
This story shows the progress of man as the house is surrounded more and more every year by the growing city. As the years pass, the house deteriorates and seems to look ill from the smog and noise pollution that surrounds it. Once the house is moved back to the country, it is revitalized and seems
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to be a happy place. I thought this was a predictable book. The pattern appeared as urban growth took place, and surrounded the house. I don’t know how I knew, but I must have assumed the house would be restored. This story comes full cycle, bringing the house back to the country. If the house wasn’t rescued, it would most likely have been torn down, consumed by industrial growth.
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LibraryThing member malissiaharrison
This is the story of a house built in the country that was to stay in the family and never be sold. The house enjoys everything about the country, but sometimes wonders what it is like in the city. Over the years things change and a city begins to grow around the house. The house becomes run down
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and misses living in the country. She is very happy when the great great granddaughter of the man who built her moves her back to the country. The house never wondered about the city again.

I liked this book so much, I read it twice. I think everyone, even if they are happy, dreams of doing something different. We all wonder about things we don't know much about. Books are the perfect escape. We can travel to places that we may never get to go in life, in a book.

Students could draw a picture of where they want to live when they grow up. It could be in the city, on a farm, on a houseboat, in a high rise apartment, anywhere they want. Then they must tell why they want to live there.

The students could tell about a time they were sad and what someone else did to make they feel better, or they could tell about a time they did something to make someone else feel better.
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Caldecott Medal (Medal Winner — 1943)


Original publication date



0590758098 / 9780590758093

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