Review: The House in the Night by Susan Marie Swanson, pictures by Beth Krommes


Since I was very small I’ve had a love affair with picture books. My mother, a kindergarten teacher and artist, nurtured a love for beautiful books filled with diverse stories and artful illustrations by gifting us books for all special occasions. After dinners out, my family would meander over to the nearest bookstore and spend time perusing the shelves, often coming home with a new book to add to our ever-growing collection.

Now, as a new mom, it’s my turn. While we may have boxes upon boxes of magnificent stories tucked away in the shed back in California, we have begun growing Ziva’s own little collection here in Michigan. Hopefully someday we’ll get my collection here for her to enjoy as well. In the meantime, I’ll share with you my favorites, the classics, and ones we discover together.

Over the weekend we visited Literati, the adorable local book shop in downtown Ann Arbor. I headed up to the second floor to find the children’s section and picked my way through the board books until I found one that felt just right for little Z. The House in the Night (by Susan Marie Swanson with illustrations by Beth Krommes) caught my eye with its striking black and white, intricate illustrations, and simple, rhythmic words.

The House in the Night by Susan Swanson, Illustrations by Beth Krommes
The House in the Night by Susan Marie Swanson, Illustrations by Beth Krommes

I always loved the books with big spreads of sweeping scenes filled with tiny little details you could get lost in. The art is just beautiful. The black and white with just touches of warm yellow light seem magical. The story has an arch to it like a relaxation exercise, taking you all the way out into a dream like, ethereal space, and then back into the warmth of the scene. I can imagine this one will be sending Little Z off to sleepy land for years to come. Thumbs way up.



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