Rhythmical and enchanting, A House that Once Was is a picture book about imagining and connecting with how things might have been different in other times. Deep in the woods two children discover an old house; “a house that once was but now isn't a home”. The children enter the house through a broken window and it is immediately clear that the house used to be somebody’s home, as the pair discover faded pictures, empty food jars and abandoned music records. The children begin to imagine different possibilities about who the house’s former occupants could have been and where they have gone; perhaps a boy who built flying machines or a girl who has become shipwrecked on a desert island and now wears ‘coconut clothes and a pineapple tie'. After their fanciful adventures, the two children return to their own house where dinner is waiting and the rooms are cosy and warm, and unlike the house in the woods is definitely a ‘home’.
This is a wonderful book to use with KS1 for sparking discussions about how a house becomes a home and to set children off on their own imaginative adventures about who might have once inhabited the house in the woods.