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The Dutch House, by Ann Patchett

Started 12.28.19 • Finished 01.09.20 / 5 stars

Because I was fifteen and generally an idiot, I thought that the feeling of home I was experiencing had to do with the car and where it was parked, instead of attributing it wholly and gratefully to my sister.

This was the January pick for my neighborhood book club. I came into it with zero expectations, other than the knowledge that Ann Patchett's previous book, Commonwealth, was popular a few years ago when it came out. Turns out it was the October 2019 pick for the Today book club, #readwithJenna. As of this writing, it's also been on the New York Times bestseller list for 15 weeks.

And so I made the decision to change. It might seem like change was impossible, given my nature and my age, but I understood exactly what there was to lose. It was chemistry all over again. The point wasn’t whether or not I liked it. The point was it had to be done.

I'd call this novel sweeping, as it spans several decades of time, doing a fair amount of jumping around as stories from the past inform present events. I absolutely loved the character development and felt like I could picture every character and what it might be like to have a conversation with each of them. For me, it took a little while to get at Patchett's direction for the book, but the writing was so compelling, I didn't mind. It is certainly a beautiful book about home and family and finding your place. Highly recommend.

“You have to serve those who need to be served, not just the ones who make you feel good about yourself. Andrea’s my penance for all the mistakes.”

January means winter and so with the help of Read-Aloud Revival, here's a list of our picture books for the month:

Before Morning, by Joyce Sidman, illustrated by Beth Krommes

Big Snow, by Jonathan Bean

Blizzard, by John Rocco

Brave Irene, by William Steig

Extra Yarn, by Mac Barnett, illustrated by Jon Klassen

First Snow, by Bomi Park

Hooray for Snow!, by Kazuo Iwamura

Katy and the Big Snow, by Virginia Lee Burton

Learning to Ski with Mr. Magee, by Chris Van Dusen

Little Penguins, by Cynthia Rylant, illustrated by Christian Robinson

The Most Perfect Snowman, by Chris Britt

Over and Under the Snow, by Kate Messner, illustrated by Christopher Silas Neal

The Reader, by Amy Hest, illustrated by Lauren Castillo

Red Sled, by Lita Judge

Snow, by Cynthia Rylant, illustrated by Lauren Stringer

The Snowy Day, by Ezra Jack Keats

Terrible Storm, by Carol Otis Hurst, illustrated by S.D. Schindler

Winter Dance, by Marion Dane Bauer, illustrated by Richard Jones

Wolf in the Snow, by Matthew Cordell

What picture books did you bring home from the library this month? Come back at the end of the month to see our favorites!

We love getting picture books from the library for Carolyn. Out of the piles we bring home, she usually latches on to a couple at a time. I mostly use the monthly lists from Read-Aloud Revival, but I've also pulled from a few other sources over the years. Here's a brief, up-close look at a few of Carolyn's favorites...

Pie is for Sharing, by Stephanie Parsley Ledyard

Illustrations by Jason Chin

This story of all the different ways we can share, with its gorgeously charming illustrations, is seamlessly woven in with a 4th of July celebration. Perfect for summer!


And Then Comes Summer, by Tom Brenner

Illustrations by Jaime Kim

Another summertime book that explores all the sights, smells, and sounds of the season.


At Night, by Jonathan Bean

We're big fans of Jonathan Bean in this house. His other books Building our House and This is My Home, This is My School were hits with the boys, and I'm sure Carolyn will love them as much as she loves this one.


Sam and Dave Dig a Hole, by Mac Barnett

Illustrations by Jon Klassen

A clever story about two boys who decide to go on an adventure and come *this* close to finding treasure.


What about you? What picture books do your little ones love getting over and over again from the library?

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