Review: Goodbye House, Hello House

Book Title: Goodbye House, Hello House (available here)

Author: Margaret Wild

Illustrator: Ann James

Publisher: Allen & Unwin

Publication Date: July 2019

Most Suitable For: EYFS/KS1

Reviewed By: Tim Dunford, Class Teacher

Goodbye House, Hello House tells the story of a young girl called Emma as she narrates her move from a house in the countryside to a new one in the city. Ann James' illustrations beautifully compliment Margaret Wild's rhythmic prose which contains gently reassuring repetition of phrases. Readers may know Margaret Wild from her wonderful story Fox and this award-winning duo have paired up before for stories such as Lucy Goosey and Little Humpty.

There is a lovely sort of symmetry to both the words and pictures in this moving house story. The young girl says goodbye to various parts of her old house with a sadness that is echoed by the colours used and in her body language. After she has said goodbye to x, y, z and gone to sleep, the book reaches its halfway point and changes tac as the girl wakes and travels to her new home. She now says hello to z, y, x and does things for the first time at her new house such as "climb this tree" and "look over this fence". The colours brighten and a sense of excitement and happiness builds as a mirror image of the first half of the book. Emma seems hopeful and optimistic in her new home. An interesting point about the book is how Emma seemingly comes to terms with the move and the changes without any adult intervention. An adult is hinted at in a couple of the pictures but, mostly, this is an emotional journey that the protagonist overcomes herself.

This book would obviously be very good to share with a child who was about to move house but it would also help open up wider conversations about changes, transitions and growing up. For example, the story would be useful to read as a child ends a year group or goes from KS1 to KS2.


You can order Goodbye House, Hello House online or from your local bookshop or library.

Many thanks to the publisher for sending us a review copy of this book and to Review Panel member Tim for reviewing it.

Where next? > Visit our Reading for Pleasure Hub

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