Bound To Stay Bound

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 Author: Blackall, Sophie

 Publisher:  Little, Brown (2022)

 Classification: Easy
 Physical Description: [43] p., col. ill., 26 cm

 BTSB No: 123581 ISBN: 9780316528948
 Ages: 4-8 Grades: K-3

 Houses -- Fiction
 Farm life -- Fiction
 Family life -- Fiction

Price: $23.28

A farmhouse where twelve children grow up holds evidence of their stories long after they are gone.

Accelerated Reader Information:
   Interest Level: LG
   Reading Level: 5.60
   Points: .5   Quiz: 517699

   Kirkus Reviews (+) (07/01/22)
   School Library Journal (+) (07/29/22)
   Booklist (+) (09/01/22)
 The Hornbook (+) (00/09/22)

Full Text Reviews:

School Library Journal - 07/29/2022 PreS-Gr 3—For most readers, a life in tune with the rhythms of nature on a family farm in the countryside is remote prospect; Blackall's gorgeous book changes that, by transporting children back to life in the 19th century on a dairy farm, where a family with 12 children lives in a white clapboard house. The detailed illustrated spreads show daily scenes at home and on the farm; some of these interiors are reminiscent of Grant Wood's painting "Dinner for Threshers," whereby one outside wall of the farmhouse has been removed offering a glimpse of the interior lives of the family. There is the wood stove in the kitchen, an upright piano in the parlor, quilts in the bedrooms, and homemade wallpaper. The text is one long, poetic sentence that wanders from misbehaving children to contented cows to nighttime dreams to the eventual abandonment of the farm and its reclamation by nature. Blackall has drawn inspiration for the book from an actual house in upstate New York and has begun all her augmented collage illustrations by using fragments of found objects from the farmhouse, including wallpaper, handmade dresses, and catalog advertisements. VERDICT A love letter to the joys of country living and family life as well as the importance of treasuring the past and all its stories.—Sally A. James - Copyright 2022 Publishers Weekly, Library Journal and/or School Library Journal used with permission.

Booklist - 09/01/2022 *Starred Review* Excavating the PastSophie Blackall's latest picture book is a genuine charmer, but there's subtle depth, here, too. Nostalgia can be a tricky project—so often, it presents a picture of the past that glosses over the rougher, less pleasant parts of history. That can be anodyne, of course, but on a larger scale, nostalgia risks replacing a true accounting of the past with a constructed version composed of only bits and pieces of a much larger and often heavier truth.Blackall’s latest picture book cleverly and subtly engages with that problem through the story of an old farmhouse in upstate New York. A large family lives in a well-loved house, and they’ve truly left a mark—the walls are hand-painted with colorful flowers; the beds in a row upstairs lie beneath pictures and photos overlapping on the slanted ceiling; height markings tick up along a doorway. In a charmingly long run-on sentence that gestures toward the structure of “The House That Jack Built,” Blackall highlights tiny moments in the life of the family, their hopes and dreams, and how they spend their time together, happily and sometimes grouchily. Her artwork echoes the jumble, and it’s genuinely captivating: pieces of fabric overlay clippings of newspaper, book pages, shreds of wallpaper, and bits of photos; collaged figures of parents, kids, cats, cows, and furniture are pieced together in cutaway views that resemble a dollhouse; watercolor landscapes open up over softly rolling hills under delicately clouded skies.An abrupt turn occurs when the youngest child in the family, now older herself, leaves the house, and it falls to ruin, with trees growing through holes in the floor and animals taking residence in the rooms. The house seems old and tired, now, and the once cluttered-but-clean home is littered with leaves and debris, and those clouded skies are now visible through broken windows. And then, Blackall herself enters the picture, discovering the ruined house and the many treasures inside, and the story concludes with her literally piecing together a story of the house and its residents from the bits and pieces she collects there.What starts as a lovely if familiar story about a large family in an old-fashioned house becomes much more complicated in the closing pages, transforming the book into a meditation on the creative process. Blackall's author’s note describes the process of excavating the very real house to find many of the materials she uses in the intricate artwork. Photos, wallpaper, and remnants of the family’s clothes are embedded in the story itself.And yet, though she mentions talking with the remaining family members who live in the area, she never identifies which elements of the story are based on their memories: “I sharpened my pencil and mixed some paint and dipped my brush and cut up some shapes and began to imagine the things that took place.” Despite its very real origins, Blackall reveals that this story is a literal construction of the past; all she has is the scraps she finds in the house, the pieced-together stories of the members of the family she can track down, and her own understanding about the area—which she admits she’s still learning. This reveal invites us to think carefully about both what we know about our histories and how we know it while still delighting in the small, beautiful pieces we can discover.Adults, who are generally more keenly aware of the darker parts of the past, might find this multifaceted and arresting story slightly haunting, especially in concert with Blackall’s author’s note, which hints at the systematic decay of the dairy industry in the region and shares more details about how she came across some of the objects used in the art (such as an abandoned wedding gown and 21 handmade, mud-caked dresses). Younger readers may or may not pick up on that, but the large and vibrant family at the heart of the story, the detail-packed artwork, the touching inside glimpse at the artist’s process, and the lilting verses are irresistible even without a wider knowledge of the world outside the house so lovingly memorialized here. - Copyright 2022 Booklist.

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