A Little House in a Big Place

Pub Date:   |   Archive Date: 10 Jun 2019

Member Reviews

‘’She stood at her window and waved to the train engineer who passed every day and she wondered. About where he came from and where he went. And if she might go away, too, someday.’’

In the house where I grew up, there was a relatively small, square-shaped room that Mum had intended to transform into a nursery for the little bundle of doom and gloom (that is me…)that was due to arrive soon. However, upon closer inspection (and a little interference from my aunt…), Mum decided that the large lemon tree that used to thrive next to the balcony turned the room into a shady, gloomy space. Unable as I was to voice my objection, my nursery was moved in a large, sunny room next to my parents’ bedroom and the first choice became a kind of library/study. The strange thing was that I’d always choose to play/read/sleep there, relishing the quietness and coolness, not to mention the wall -to- wall bookcase. When the hot summer days arrived, it became Heaven. Nearby, there was a train station. During the 90s, Mum and I used to listen to the train during the summer nights and she would create stories about the passengers, the destinations and the train engineers. And I would listen and imagine. My love for trains has remained undiminished.

In this beautiful little book, a young girl lives with her family in a picturesque house in the middle of nowhere. Seemingly. The world around her may be a vast space but she has formed a strong relationship with the nature around her and with...a train. Every day, it passes by and she stands at the window, waving to the train engineer. The little house in a big place becomes the link to the friendship between the young girl and the man who has the responsibility to lead hundreds of passengers to their destinations safely. A friendship that doesn’t need words. All it takes is a wave by a small hand to remind the engineer that his journey is noticed and appreciated, becoming an inspiration for the vivid imagination of the brilliant child. Soon, she will grow up and the time for her to become a passenger to her adult life will come.

A Little House In A Big Place is a lovely book about imagination, dreams, wanderlust and the unique ability of children to understand the world and its inhabitants far better than any grown-up. Graced with mesmerizing, nostalgic illustrations by Valeriane LeBlond in blue, purple and earthy colours and the beautiful prose by Allison Acheson, this little treasure will make you dream, eager to hop on a train to an unknown destination. Who knows what we may find…

‘’The girl grew up. She left the little house, she left the little town, and she rode a train east- east to where the sun rises- disappearing into a small dot on the edge of the big sky…’’

Many thanks to Kids Can Press and NetGalley for the ARC in exchange for an honest review.

My reviews can also be found on https://theopinionatedreaderblog.wordpress.com/
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... Every day, in a little house in a little town in the middle of a big place, a girl stands at her window and waves to the engineer of the train that passes on the nearby tracks. The engineer waves back and his wave and her wave together make a home in her heart. The little girl is curious about the engineer, about where he came from and where he goes. Which makes her wonder if she might go away, too, some day. This beautiful free verse picture book explores the magic of a connection made between strangers, while also pondering the idea of growing up, and what might lie beyond a child's own small piece of the world. 

My Opinion:
... nice drawings, nice text - but I quite didn´t get the meaning of the end? I did not like it ...

Note 3-4 or C
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Wonderful story of a little girl who is inspired to see the larger world by a train engineer whose train ran zipped past her house everyday. I imagine children in the country,who lived near railroads felt the same way! I remember a train the ran not far from our house behind my small neighborhood. Us kids loved to wave to the train engineer and other workers. We dreamed of following those magic rails out of our towns, too!  The art work is wonderful, big and bold!
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Where I grew up in Canada is in a city on the cusp of the Rocky Mountains and the prairies. We traveled a lot to camp in areas that were only a few hours from our home. So many of those trips were spent on the flat prairies of Saskatchewan or Alberta. Like in this book; most roads and homes are built on the major thoroughfares which all have railroads. So trains were always a large part of our trips. Following them, waiting for them, listening to them, etc. In fact one campground we stayed at had a train go through and blow it's horn on the hour, every hour ALL night long. Needless to say we didn't spend more than one night there! 

Because of this background I really loved Little House in a Big Place and it's focus on the schedule trains have. They can help keep time for children, provide good safety teaching opportunities and of course, most engineers will blow their whistle (if allowed in the are) when they see children waving at them. It's a bit odd to me that the cover of this book shows the train at night; even though the train is actually seen every morning by our little girl. The idea of an engineer changing routes and leaving his hat behind for the little girl feels so very Canadian! The writer of this story is from Canada; and the illustrator from France. The wonderful illustrations in this are bright and feel perfect fora  children's book; while the writing is exactly the right amount of words and has a lovely cadence to it. 

There is one odd piece to this book that I think makes a leap/jump that many children may not inherently understand. (spoilers ahead) 

At the end of the book we see the connection between the little girl, her growing up and leaving home; and then her singing in a cafe. While this will make sense to adults I'm not sure children will really understand the concept here. I think it would have been better if the story ended with the little girl leaving home on the train. A perfect circular loop that joins the beginning of our girls time watching trains to her ultimately leaving on one. However, as this can easily be explained by the adult reading the story, I am not knocking off a star for it. 

Please note: I received an eARC of this book from the publisher via NetGalley. This is an honest and unbiased review.
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In this story, a girl (whose name we don’t find out) lives with her family in a little house in the countryside next to a railway line. Every day the same driver drives a train past her house from East to West and West to East.

Although they know nothing about each other, the girl always waves to the driver and he waves back. That is, until his final day, when he leaves behind a memento that will stay with the girl as she grows up and moves away from her little house.

If you prefer stories with plenty of action, then this one may not be for you, but it has a cute, cosy, dreamlike feel to it that is sure to have a calming effect on little ones at bedtime and will leave many an adult feeling all warm and fuzzy.

The illustrations are in soft, gentle hues. Like in the best picture books, they tell a large part of the story – in this case showing the girl’s idyllic life and revealing a great deal about her relationship with her family that’s not even mentioned in the text.
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When a train passes a house out in the country every day, a friendship forms between the conductor and a friendly little girl who waves at him every day. They never meet. But his daily passing helps the girl realize there’s a big, wide world out there and inspires her to venture outside of her little house when she grows up.

This is a whimsical and nostalgic picture book about a friendship between two people who never even knew each other’s names, but still had an impact on each other through a simple daily wave. It is quiet and simple. But there’s a subtle, profound message wrapped up in that quiet that even the smallest acts of kindness can have a really big impact. There’s also a whispering message that when one thing that took up your time ends, it is an opportunity to explore other interests you haven’t had time for before. And that you’ll never know what good can come of those changes, even if they are bittersweet. Beyond that, it is the story of a girl growing up, spreading her wings, and moving away from home…which is not frequently the topic of a picture book story. In some ways, it feels like the author boiled down what could be a whole movie or full length novel about kindness, change, and growing up into a simple picture book. (You’re welcome for the movie idea Mr/Ms Movie Producer. I’m sure the author’s agent would love to hear from you.) Hand this to kids who like the imagine what their future holds. Read this to inspire kids to be kind, even in small ways. And ask kids what good came from the changes in this girl’s daily routine. Definitely will look into getting this for our Elementary library.

I received an ARC of this title from the publisher through NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.
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This is such a cute book! It was a nice book to read at night after a busy day and just calm down. I definitely recommend reading this to children at night if you like to read to your kids before they go to sleep.
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A Little House in a Big Place is a heartwarming and sweet picture book about a little girl who grows up in an isolated area but there is a train that runs behind her house. Every day she watches the train and its conductor and wonders about where it has been and where it is going. This is a story about change and the phases of life and it is well written and illustrated. It is also nice to see a train book that features a female protagonist.
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I received an electronic ARC from Kids Can Press through NetGalley.
The young girl waves at the train engineer every day when the train sails by her small house in a small town. She wonders what his life is like. One day he tosses his engineering cap for her. She grows up and moves on to find her own life.
Gentle message about seeing beyond current circumstances and finding your own path in life. Acheson captures the joy and wondering of childhood and moves through the transitions to becoming an adult.
Softly colored illustrations provide further details about the girl and her family's life.
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This is a story of a little girl who lives in the middle of nowhere and wonders what the world is like far away. She lives next to the train tracks and waves to the train conductor every day as he passes and they form a special unspoken bond. On his last day as a conductor, he throws his hat to her from the train. The story then follows the little girl as she grows up and moves on to bigger things. 
Overall, I think the sentiment of the story is nice, and the illustrations are beautiful. It's a quiet story that doesn't really have much of a plot but I think it would make a nice bedtime story because it just moves along slowly and calmly. My biggest problem was actually the title; I'm not sure "A Little House in a Big Place" really fits.
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This book is fine. It doesn't really illicit any kind of response from me, positive or negative. I guess I appreciate that it is a girl who is into trains, since train books almost always have boys.
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What a sweet story. This book deals with a girl who waves at a train each day, wondering where it's going. It follows her as she grows up until one day, she's on the train herself. The illustrations are quite delightful.  

**I received a free copy of this book via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.**
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The illustrations were beautiful and I loved the depictions of the little girls family life. I especially love the sentence about the wave the little girl exchanged with the train engineer everyday that it "made a home in her heart". I just think it fell a little short on the story line, but I enjoyed it.
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A Little House in a Big Place by Alison Acheson follows the musings of a young girl who lives in the middle of nowhere, surrounded by golden fields. Each morning she waves to the engineer of a train that goes by, cutting through the fields. She wonders who he is, where he's going, and what's beyond her small house. One day, the engineer throws something out the window. The girl finds his gift, special because it was a parting gift, for he was moving on. She grows to a young woman, and sets off to see what's beyond. This was a cute read, with lovely art, but it just didn't resonate with me. The story felt lacking. There didn't seem to be a point. My youngest cubs enjoyed it though. 

***Many thanks to Netgalley & Kids Can Press for providing an ecopy in exchange for a fair and honest review.
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A little book in a big world trying to carve out a place in a bookshelf somewhere so whenever a kid picks it up they end up feeling less alone and more part of a larger story.

Sweet book.
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Thank you Netgalley for providing me with this digital ARC in exchange for a review.

This is a simple and sweet story about a girl growing up watching a train come by her house. The illustrations are beautiful. The story was a little bland for my taste.
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A nice story with beautiful illustrations. The little girl watches out for the engineer each day until on his last day, he throws out his hat for her. I thought this was encouraging girls in STEM but when she grew up, she didn't become an engineer, she left her town and played guitar.

I liked it, I just think it was a missed opportunity to plant the seed that girls can be engineers too.
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A little girl lives close to a railway track. Each day she waves to the engineer on the train as he travels first one way, then the other. She waves, he waves back and to her they hold a special connection. As he passes each day, the girl wonders where he is heading to, until one day she sees something fly out of the train window, and her engineer is replaced by a new engineer, with whom she doesn’t hold the same connection, and finds other ways to occupy herself.

This is a beautifully illustrated story which encourages children to wonder about where they and others may end up in the world, and shows that their little place in it is not the only place.

I enjoyed the story, particularly the beautiful vocabulary used to talk of the unspoken friendship between the girl and the engineer, , but the middle part almost felt like a different book and I was pleased that the significance of the Railway was returned to at the end of the story.

I also liked that this was a book about trains with a female lead character. After all, anyone can like trains!

I received an e-ARC of this book from the publishers via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.
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Every day a little girl stands at her window and waves at the engineer of a train as it whizzes by her house.  Her little house in a little town is right smack dab in the middle of a big place so this is daily entertainment for her.  Faithfully,  every day, the kind engineer responds with a wave back.  His wave and her wave together make a home in her heart. ( I love that sentence - best one in the book!) 

The speed of the train, the wonderment of where it might be going and its destination as it returns peeks the little girl's curiosity.  She wonders if perhaps one day in the future she can ride a train and travel far far away too.   

This free verse picture book unveils the special connection between the two.  It also offers a wonderful opportunity for discussion that begs to uncover the mystery that surrounds that train as it travels to and fro along the endless tracks. 

Kids will relate because most have waved at the driver of a huge truck, a streamlined bus, or even waved skyward at an airplane zooming overhead.  They are delighted when the truck driver blasts his horn or the bus driver simply smiles and waves hello.  The talented illustrator enriches the text by showing wide open spaces and long views of the train as it passes by the little girl's window.  The reader can experience visually the vastness and emptiness that surrounds the child.   This book opens up a great opportunity to discuss and learn about different styles of poetry and subjects.  I highly recommend the book.
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Good book. Beautiful illustrations! Liked the story and the flow was good. Fun to read with kids. Would add this to kids library of books.
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